Document 924

The Puddock and the Princess

Author(s): David Purves

Copyright holder(s): David Purves



This story, is based on a traditional Scottish version of the European Frog Prince theme. It is set in a mythological Scotland a long time ago, when all the folk in the Kingdom were happy and content, every man the friend of his neighbor. The country had no king for the king had died, but he had left behind him a Queen and three bonny daughters.

Everybody said what a good Queen she was, but one day the Queen falls mortally sick and her daughters are sent in turn to the Well at the World’s End at Ardnamurchan, where the water has magical curative powers. At the Well, each daughter, in turn, encounters the Puddock (frog) Guardian of the Magic Water, but the price of obtaining the water is marriage with the Puddock. The eldest daughter, Nanse, is too proud and selfish and she refuses, the second daughter, Eilidh, is pernicketie and she also refuses, but Morag, the youngest daughter, accepts the Puddock’s proposal for her mother’s sake. After an improvised marrriage ceremony, Morag is allowed to collect some of the Magic Water and returns to the Queen at her Palace. The Queen gets her cure, and is restored to vigorous health, but the Puddock duly turns up at the Palace claiming his marital rights. In the end, the Puddock is conveniently transmogrified into a Prince, Morag’s sacrifice is rewarded and everybody lives happily ever after.



David Purves


Nanse, the prood auldest princess

Morag, the broun yungest princess

The guid Queen Marget

Ringan, the chaumer loun

Maister Rintoul, the mediciner

The Puddok

Andrae, the Prince


ACT I: Scene 1 The Queen’s chaumer, the Queen’s pailace, Abernethie, Alba, a lang whyle syne, the mornin.

ACT II: Scene 1 The Wal at the Warld’s End, a week later
Scene 2 The Wal at the Warld’s End, twa weeks later

ACT III: Scene 1 The Queen’s chaumer, a week later, in the afternoon.
Scene 2: The Queen’s chaumer, the same forenicht

Act I

Scene 1

The Queen’s chaumer, the Queen’s palace, Alba, a long time ago in the morning. The Queen is lying asleep under the sheets in a four-poster bed provided with a bell rope. There is a bookcase in the room and a chest of drawers by the bedside on which stands a candlestick, a bag of apples, a carafe of water with a glass tumbler and a jar half-full of red-colored water. A walking stick leans against the wall by the bedside. There is a chair by the side of the bed. Below the bed, there is a pair of slippers and a chamber pot, beside a wooden deed box. A broadsword is mounted on the all above the bed, and there is a large chest containing two plaids at the foot of the bed. There is a large fireplace with an active fire at the back of the stage and a window, which looks down onto a courtyard, next to a door leading to the hall. The two princesses, Nanse and Morag, are sitting embroidering.

Nanse: Me, Ah’m gaun ti mairrie a Keing. A raither fancie the Keing o Norroway, but Ah’m no aw that parteiklar – even the Keing o Ulster wad dae me an he haed his hert set on mairriein me.

Morag: Mercie on us! Ir ye no the prood ane? Mebbe the’l no be a Keing that wul want ye, for ye’r juist ferr owre prood awthegither, sae ye ir!

Nanse: Princesses haes a richt ti be prood. Mynd ye, Ah micht bring masell doun ti mairrie a prince, gin he war walthie aneuch an weill-faured. Mebbe Ah micht even tak til a yerl, gin he war a gret ane an brawlyke an fair desperate for ma chairms. An hou aboot you, Morag, wha wad ye lyke ti mairrie?

Morag: (Laughing) Ah’m no prood at aw! Ah think Ah’l juist wait or Ah’m askit afore Ah mak up ma mynd whuther or no Ah want the man that spiers me. Gin he haed a guid hert, that wad be the main thing.

Ah wad mairrie a cobbler gin he haed a guid hert an he taen ma fancie.

Nanse: Ye’d better mynd whit ye’r sayin. Belle Tamson, that wes ma sairvant lassie, left me lest year ti mairrie an auld cobbler that warks in the Cougait, an nou he licks hir ilka day wi a leather strap. The puir lassie canna dae a thing richt for him an she juist stauns aboot his shop greitin aw day.

Morag: Mebbe she’s owre sair ti sit doun!

Nanse: Ah daursay, an that’s whaur he leathers hir. Ah wad lyke ti see the man that coud leather me. Ah ken wha wad git the leatherin i the feinish. The wycelyke thing ti dae is ti mak shuir ye pick sumbodie o hie degree. That gait ye wul aye hae sumthing in the wey o geir an siller ti faw back on, gin ye ir disappyntit, an canna byde the sicht o yeir man.

Morag: The’r shuirlie mair ti lyfe nor getherin gear. But here, Ah dinna think it’s richt we soud be sittin here speakin lyke this an the Queen, oor mither, lyin thare no-weill in hir bed. She’s nae better, ye ken!

(The Queen turns in her bed and moans)

Nanse: Ah think she’s tae a turn for the waur the-day.

Morag: She’s better nor she wes lest Setterday.

Nanse: Ay, but she’s waur nor she wes yestrein.

Morag: Whitever, she’s no weill at aw an Ah dinna lyke this color in hir chowks – she’s kynd o green aboot the gills. She haes thrie het pigs in the bed asyde hir, but she still lys thare chitterin the fek o the tyme.

Nanse: This truibil is an awfu worrie til us aw. Oor mither juist seems to be dwynin awa afore oor een, an for masell, Ah dinna ken whit Ah’l dae athoot hir. She’l be a sair miss. She haesna feinisht lairnin me ti crochet yit.

Morag: Mercie, she’s no deid yit! Dinna speak lyke that, Nanse!

(There is a knock at the door)

Nanse: (Loudly) Wha is’t?

Ringan: (Half opening door) It’s me, Ringan, yeir Hieness.

Nanse: Cum in!

(Ringan, the chaumer loun, enters)

Ringan: (To Nanse) The’r a Maister Rintoul at the ooter door yeir Hieness. He says he is a mediciner an that the Queen wantit him ti caw in an see hir this mornin. He says he’s cum aw the road frae Cupar.

Nanse: Fesh him inti the Mukkil Haw an tell him ti wait, Ringan!” The Queen wul cry him in whan she’s guid an reddie for ti see him

Ringan: Verra weill, yeir Hieness.

(Ringan bows and leaves)

Nanse: This’l be anither o thae infernal leeches. Ah’m shuir they’r no daein hir a bit of guid wi thair poultices an potions: no that that hinnners thaim frae wantin rowth o siller for whit littil they div dae. She’s seen fowr o thae uissless cairds areddies an they hae aw been ill ti pey.

Morag: Ah’m shuir nane o thaim haes onie notion o whit’s wrang wi hir, but mebbe she’l hae better luck wi this ane nor the ithers. Wul we cry him in, dae ye think?

Nanse: Ay, Ah think we’d better. Mither wul be geyan roosed gin we send him awa.

(Nanse stands up, moves towards the bed and shakes the Queen, gently)

Mither, wauken up, the’r a man ti see ye!

Queen: (Sits up) A man---! Wha---? Wha is’t?

Nanse: A Maister Rintoul. He is ootby in the Haw. He says ye wantit ti see him.

Queen: Maister Rintoul----! Ay, sae Ah did.

Nanse: He’s been hingin aboot the Coort for a whyle. He’l be lyke a knotless threid bi nou.

Queen: (Yawning) Ye’d better cry him in than! Ah maun hae dovert aff whan ye war bletherin awa aboot men.

(Nanse pulls the bell rope)

Nanse: Ah think we’l juist leave ye ti see Maister Rintoul bi yeirsell, Mither. He’l mebbe want ti exemine ye.

Queen: Ah think that’s best. Ah daursay he’l be ettlin ti soond ma kist.. Ye can aye cum back eftir he’s feinisht wi me.

Nanse: Richt, we’l juist dae that than.

(The two sisters make for the door, Morag last)

Queen: Haud on the-nou, Morag! See an ye can redd up this bed a bit! The bed cuivers is aw bumfilt up. That laddie is an awfu tyme i cummin.

(The Queen tidies her hair and Morag attends to the bed)

(The Queen looks approvingly at the bed) That’s mair wycelyke, Morag.

(Ringan enters)

Ringan: Ye rang, yeir Hieness!

Queen: (Grimly) Ay, Ah did that. Ye’r a gey lang tyme i cummin, Ringan. Ah dout ye’r wurkin on for another lounderin. Dae ye think Ah’m that near deid ye need never heed the bell? Dae ye see this stick here? (She points to the stick standing by the bedside)

Ringan: Ay, yeir Hieness.

Queen: Weill that’s whit ye’l git owre yeir back the neist tyme ye dinna tak tent o the bell.

Ringan: Ah’m awfu sorrie, yeir Hieness. Ah-Ah-Ah wes doun in the yaird wi the pow-pownie. P-Please---Ah’l no dae’t again.

Queen: Frae whit Ah hear tell, ye’r never awa frae that pownie.

Ringan: A wes juist clappin him, yeir Hieness. Ah wesna—

Queen: The pownie canna git peace in his staw for ye clap-clappin at him. Nou mynd weill whit Ah say! The pownie is awricht. He’s no wantin you ti clap him. Ye’d mukkil need no gang near the pownie again! Dae ye hear?

Ringan: Ay, yeir Hieness.

Queen: (Menacingly) Juist you leave the pownie alane! The pownie is fyne. He’l dae fyne athoot yeir claps. Ah’l no speak ti ye again, mynd! (Ringan hangs his head) Ah’l skelp yeir lugs for ye!
(More pleasantly) Awricht than--- Ah’l see Maister Rintoul nou. Gang an fesh him in at aince!

(He bows an leaves)

Morag: Whyles ye’r gey ill on Ringan, Mither. He’s no a bad laddie.

Queen: He’s spylt, that’s whit’s wrang wi him. But Ah ken hou ti sort him.

(Ringan ushers in Maister Rintoul. He then bows and leaves again, followed by Morag, moving discretely)

Queen: Maister Rintoul, Ah’m rael vext ye hae been keepit kickin yeir heels sae lang ootby, but Ah didna ken ye war here. Ah’d fawn soond asleep an ma dochters didna lyke ti disturb me. Ah’ve juist this verra meinit waukent oot ma sleep.

Rintoul: (Bowing deeply) Yeir Grace, hou can Ah serr ye?

Queen: That’s a guid quaisten, Maister Rintoul.

Ye wul ken that Ah haena been weill at aw this whyle back. It aw stertit wi a richt dose o the byle, an Ah haena been masell sensyne. Ah hae been exemined bi fowr different doctors an Ah’m no a bit the wycer whit ails me. Twa o thaim bled me, ane o thaim poulticed me an the ither ane smeikit oot the chaumer wi whuffin burnin sulfur up the lum. At ae tyme Ah thocht he wes gaun ti set the haill houss ahaud.

Rintoul: Wes that aw he did? Pit burnin sulfur up the lum?

Queen: That wes aw--- Na, Ah’m tellin a lee. He left me a jaur wi fowr leeches in’t an telt me ti mak uiss o thaim whan Ah felt badlyke, but Ah coud haurlie keep the first ane doun. (She points to the jar of water)

Rintoul: In the name o Guidness, ye dinna mean ti tell me ye ett the leeches?

Queen: (Holding up the jar) Wes that no whit Ah wes supposed ti dae? The first ane kept reiglin aboot in ma thrappil whan Ah wes tryin ti swallae it. It fair gied me the bowk Ah can tell ye. Ah coudna stammik onie mair raw anes, sae Ah haed the ithers fryit. They warna sae bad whan they war weill birsilt.

Rintoul: This bates aw! The leeches war for drawin oot bad bluid --- no for swallaein. They’r graund for byles or beilin lumps, or getherins o onie kynd.

Queen: Ai, Ah wush Ah’d kent that afore. Ah wes never sae skunnert in aw ma born days. Ugh! Ugh! It fair gied me the grue!

Rintoul: Aweill, yeir Grace, Ah daursay ye wul no be mukkil the waur o swallaein ae raw leech. But Ah dinna think ye’r wantin ti loss onie mair bluid. Ah dout ye hae fawn inti the wrang haunds. It’s a guid job ye---

Queen: Div Ah no ken that? Nane o thae fallaes haes duin me a bit o guid. The war ae thing they did ken tho: they aw kent hou ti chairge. Ti tell ye the truith, Maister Rintoul, Ah dinna ken whaur ti turn nou. Ah’m juist aboot ma wuts’ end.

Rintoul: Gin ye haed sent for me in the first place, ye micht hae spared yeirsell aw this fasherie.

Queen: Weill, ye cam here weill recommended! Ah dout Ah’l juist hae ti pit masell in yeir guid haunds, Maister Rintoul. (She takes hold of his hands and presses them to her)

Rintoul: That’s the thing ti dae! (He returns her hands firmly)

Queen: It’s a funnie thing, in a certain licht, the’r whyles ye bring me in mynd o ma faither, bliss him! He wes aye an awfu man wi the weimen, dae ye ken? Ai, whit a man he wes! Nae wumman wes safe frae him. He juist coudna leave the weimen alane at aw. Whyles he coudna richt eat his denner for thinkin aboot thaim.

Rintoul: Oh ay, Ah daursay!

Queen: They uised ti caw him ‘Radgie Andrae’ whan he wes young. (She peers intently at Rintoul) Haud yeir heid ti the syde, Man! (He holds his head awkwardly to one side)

A bit mair---! (He obeys)

(Motioning with hand) Cum you roond a bit ti the syde! Ye’r staunin in yeir ain licht!

Ay, ye hae the same style aboot ye. Ai, Ah bet ye’r a richt deil whan ye git stertit!

Rintoul: (Embarassed) Weill, Ah hae ryal bluid in me, Ah believe.

Queen: Is that a fact, nou?

Rintoul: Ay, ma graundfaither on ma mither’s syde wes a MacAlpine.

Queen: Dae ye tell me? That’s mair nor Ah can say. Ma graundfaither wes a fishmongir ti trade --- Hogg the fishmongir an poutrie-man. Ye’l mebbe mynd o him! He keepit a shop up the Kirk Wynd at ae tyme. The war aye rabbits hingin at his shop door.

Rintoul: Ah think Ah’ve heard the name! (Hastily changing the subject) Weill, yeir Grace, hou dae ye feel in yeirsell, this mornin?

Queen: Fair duin, Doctor! Ah’m nitherin cauld aw the tyme an Ah’m that dwaiblie an disjaskit, Ah’m shuir Ah’l dee suin gin sumbodie disna finnd oot whit ails me.

Rintoul: Wad ye lyke ti lat me see yeir tongue yeir Grace? (The Queen puts out her tongue a little) A bit mair--- Pit it richt oot! (The Queen obliges) (Peering closely at her tongue) Uh-huh! Ah dinna lyke the luik o that.

Rintoul: (Places a spatula on the tongue) Hou lang’s yeir tongue been lyke this? (The Queen tries to reply but can only gurgle) Ah dinna lyke the luik of this at aw! Ye coud plant tatties in thare. (He removes the spatula) Ye’d better pit it awa again! (Queen withdraws her tongue)

Queen: Whit wes wrang wi ma tongue? It haes aye luik’t the same for as lang’s Ah can mynd.

Rintoul: It wes a kynd o brounie-gray color. It wesna richt. It suid hae been ridder luikin. (Rintoul takes her wrist portentously to take her pulse) Ye’r luikin gey peillie-wallie, richt aneuch, an frae the color o ye yeir Grace, yeir luckie ye’r no deid frae the loss o bluid areddies. (He listens to the Queen’s pulse)

(Shaking his head) Ay, Ay, Ah dout, Ah dout ….. Ye cawed me in juist in tyme. Dis yeir teeth chitter at aw?

Queen: Ay, whyles ……….. Ir ye no wantin ti soond me, Maister Rintoul?

(The Queen starts to unbutton her nightgown)

Rintoul: Na, no the-day---! Onie truibil wi yeir bowels? Ye haena been chokit up wi diarrhoea?

Queen: No sae bad as that, but Ah’m a wee thing lowss i the mornins.

Rintoul: Uh-huh, Uh-huh! That’s ti be expekkit. Nou afore we gang onie ferrer forrit, lat’s hae a keik at whit’s in yeir chantie! That aften tells a storie.

Queen: (Taken aback) Govie Dick! Ah’m shuir Ah dinna envie ye yeir trade, Maister Rintoul, but gin that is whit ye want ti see, ye’l finnd it doun ablo the bed in ahint ma slippers.

Rintoul: It’s no whit Ah want, yeir Grace, but whit Ah maun dae ti pit ye ti richts.

(Rintoul looks under the bed, but cannot locate the chamber pot, so he crawls under)

Queen: (Feeling a disturbance) Whit ir ye daein bouglin aboot doun thare, Maister Rintoul?

Rintoul: Ah canna see it, yeir Grace. It’s no ahint yeir slippers.

Queen: (Leaning over) Is’t no ahint the wee kist? Ah ken it wes thare first thing this mornin.

(Rintoul pulls out the chamber pot from under the bed)

Rintoul: It’l no hae been empit the-day at aw?

Queen: No yit---! No as ferr as Ah ken ---!. No if it’s aye fou---!

(Rintoul inspects contents)


Queen: The’r an auld wig in thare. Nanse telt Ringan ti pit it in for ti deiden the dirl whan the chantie wes be-in uised. Ah hear tell that that’s whit’s duin at the French Coort, oniewey. It’s taen tri be the hicht o genteilitie owre thare.

Rintoul: O ay, Ah daursay. It fairlie gied me a gliff the-nou whan Ah saw it. Ah im no up wi thir new-fangilt ootlin fashions. The French is owre fantoush for me, awthegither. (Looks speculatively at the wig) Enchanté de vous faire connaissance! Ah hear tell the fowk at the French Coort eats puddoks for thair denner.

Queen: Ah daursay! It wadna dae an we war aw made the same. Sum fowk lykes parritch an ithers lykes puddoks.

Rintoul: (Inspecting contents again) Fegs ay! Juist as Ah thocht! Ah wes shuir o’t! Nae dout aboot it yeir Grace---- Ah ken nou whit ails ye. Ah hae seen twa-thrie ither cases the neibor o this in ma day. (He lays down the pot)

Queen: (Alarmed) Whit is’t? Whit’s wrang wi me, than?

Rintoul: Ah’m no shuir ye soud be oot yeir bed at aw. Ye’l need aw the rest ye can git frae nou on. Ye can sit in yeir chair for an oor i the eftirnuins. Nae mair---! That’l be lang aneuch.

Queen: But whit’s wrang wi me?

Rintoul: Ye hae gotten a richt dose o Greigorie’s Ill.

Queen: Mercie, whit’s that?

Rintoul: This is a richt byordnar complaint that maun aye end up in a gruesum daith, wantin the richt remedie. It sterts wi a lowssness o the bowels first thing in the mornins an seik turns. Syne a feelin o cauld an dwaibliness cums owre ye, whyles wi chitterin fits.

Queen: (Moans softly) Ah’ve haed aw that.

Rintoul: Syne yeir goums gits unco tender an aw yeir teeth an the hair o the heid faws oot. (Queen moans again) An i the feinish, the’r aye a stounin sair heid that gits waur an waur, an waur, or ye cry ti God, in his infinite Mercie, ti tak ye til himsell. A maist waesum sicht--! Yeir Grace, Ah’m weill uised wi seein fowk dee, but A dinna mynd tellin ye, it aye gies me a sair hert ti see oniebodie gang doun wi Greigorie’s Ill. Yon’s no a daith Ah’d wush on ma warst fae. (Queen moans again) It is ayont ma pouer ti richt ye masell, but Ah can tell ye the siccar cure. The’r but the ae cure an that is----

Queen: For the luiv o Guidness, Maister Rintoul, tell iz!

Rintoul: ---a sowp o wattir frae the Wal at the Warld’s End. This is a magic wal – the Wal o True Wattir – an the wattir maun be brocht ti ye bi sumbodie that loues ye weill.

Queen: A bodie lyke that soudna be ill ti finnd, for awbodie kens whit a guid Queen A hae been. Ah canna think that ever Ah did oniebodie an ill turn aw ma days. Ah heard tell o this place langsyne. It is in ma mynd that it is at the ither end o the Kinrik, is’t no?

Rintoul: Ay, Ah dout sae! It’s a lang wey awa – a place cawed Ardnamuchan – a richt dour road, tae—

Queen: Ardnamurchan, is it? A’m mukkil obleiged ti ye Maister Rintoul. We wul no tak up onie mair o yeir tyme this mornin, but Ah’l expek ti see ye again, eftir Ah hae drukken a pikkil o this byordnar wattir. The’l be a hantil gowd for ye whan Ah’m aw better, but nae dout, ye’l be sendin in yeir accoont for this veisit

Rintoul: Yeir Grace is owre kynd. The honor o serrin ye is mair nor aneuch.

Queen: Howt Man, ye’r ferr owre blate. Dinna you be sweir ti send in yeir accoont an Ah’l no be sweir ti pey it!

Rintoul: (Bows) Ye can rely on me, yeir Grace.

Queen: (Pulls bell rope) Whaur that loun? Unsteik that door the-nou, Maister Rintoul! (Rintoul opens the door) (Shouting) Ringan---! Ir ye thare, Ringan?

Ringan: (From offstage) Ah’m juist cummin, yeir Hieness!

(After a few seconds, Ringan enters)

Queen: (Sternly) Cum here, Ringan!

Ringan: It-it wesna me, yeir Hieness!

Queen: (Loudly, pointing to a spot on the floor before the bed) Come here this meinit!

(Ringan approaches the bed warily)

Queen: (Pointing to the stick) Haund me that stick!

(Ringan puts out his hand uncertainly, then withdraws it. The Queen quickly grasps the stick and tries to belabor him with it, but he retreats and she succeeds in landing only one blow.)

Ringan: (Rubbing his arm) Ow! Ow, Ow! Govie Dick that wes sair!

Queen: (Angrily) Ah meant it ti be sair. Whit dae ye mean, it wesna you? Wul YOU staun up strecht? Ye’r gaun aboot cruppen thegither lyke a wee auld man. Ye’r gey hingin-luggit luikin. Whit hae ye been up til? Ye haena been at the ploums again? Ah’l finnd oot whitever it is, never you fear! Ah’l gie you sic a lounderin whan Ah ryse oot this bed.. Ah’l leather ye blek an blue, sae Ah wul! (She catches sight of Rintoul, returns the stick to the floor and quickly composes herself) Maister Rintoul, ye’l paurdon me? Ah’m no lyke masell the-nou.

Rintoul: That’s juist anither sign o yeir truibil, yeir Grace. The’r a hantil ill-naitur gangs aye wi Greigorie’s Complaint. A never thocht for a meinit that wes you, yeir richt sell, speakin. Ye’l be up an doun lyke this the haill tyme, or we git ye richt sortit.

Queen: Ye hae the richt o’t, Maister Rintoul. Ah canna forsay Ah’m aff ma ordnar. (She smiles gratefully at Rintoul and turns to address Ringan) Cum here, Ringan ma laddie! (Ringan hesitates) Cum owre here ti me, Son! (Ringan approaches and she gives him a little pat. He flinches.) Kyndlie see Maister Rintoul ti the ooter door, Ringan! Syne ask the Princess Nanse ti cum ben an see me! Thare a guid laddie, nou---!

Rintoul: Mynd nou, onlie a true lousum hert can fesh ye wattir frae the Magic Wal.

Queen: Ah’m no lyke ti forget.

Rintoul: Yeir Grace---!

(Rintoul bows and leaves with Ringan)

Queen: (Passionately to herself) The Wal o True Wattir. The Lord be praisit!

(The Queen pours the water from the leech jar into the chamber pot and then takes a drink of water from the carafe at the bedside. Princess Nanse enters and, seeing the chamber pot, impatiently pushes it back under the bed with her foot)

Nanse: Yeir Grace wantit for ti converse wi me?

Queen: Ma dochter, Ah hae ti tell ye, Ah hae gotten Greigorie’s ailment. Ma truibil, it seems, is mortal an nae mediciner in aw this Kinrik can richt me.

Nanse: Ah’m rael vext ti hear that, Mither. Ah howp it’s no smittil.

Queen: (Incredulous) Ye howp it’s no smittil! Ye’r never duin thinkin aboot yeirsell, ir ye? Dis it mean naething ti ye that yeir ain mither is lyin here deein?

Nanse: Ah meant Ah howp it’s no fatal.

Queen: Ah wes juist gaun ti tell ye aboot that. Maister Rintoul is juist duin tellin me that gin Ah micht hae ae drink frae the Wal o True Wattir, syne Ah soud be weill again.

Nanse: An whaur micht it be, this Wal o True Wattir, for Ah never heard tell o it? Never that Ah can mynd o---

Queen: It is awa, ferr awa, at a place cawed the Warld’s End, at the ferrest neuk o the Kinrik, in Ardnamurchan.

Nanse: Ardnamurchan---! That’s an unco place!

Queen: It is a sair trek an lang, for ti win thare. Ye maun gang on fuit owre hills an craigs an athort mosses an muirs an throu mirk-derk wuds afore ye cum til’t.

Nanse: Weill than, Mither, we maun loss nae tyme. Lat us send a sairvant bodie ti this Wal at the Warld’s End richt awa. Monie a ane wad be gled for ti gang for gowd an siller, an hae we no gowd an siller aneuch an ti spare. Sic dour traivil as this is lyker for a sairvant nor for a princess, shuirlie?

Queen: Ye micht weill think that, ma dochter, but this maun be a trip made no for gowd, but for luiv alane, or nae guid wul cum o’t. The’r weirdrie in it an weirdrie haes its ain weys.

Nanse: Howt, whit haivers, Mither! A’m no ane for hearkenin til auld wyfe’s tales an siclyke. (The Queen groans pathetically) But sen yeir hert is richt set on wattir frae this place, Ah maun gang an fesh it for ye masell, lang trail or no. The’r ither things Ah’d raither dae, but lat nane say Ah’m no a guid dochter ti ye.

Queen: Ah’m mukkil behauden ti ye ma dochter. Ye hae aye been a guid dochter ti me in yeir ain wey, tho we aw ken ye ir unco prood.

Nanse: Mither, think naething o’t! It is the richt thing for me ti dae, Ah’m shuir. Whit wad fowk think gin Ah coudna dae ma ain mither an obleigement? It wadna be genteil in me.

Queen: Ay, ye war aye ane for the genteilitie, ever sen ye war a wee bairn.

Nanse: Weill, the’r naething wrang wi that, but Ah maun awa nou an git a guid sleep, for Ah’m ettlin ti set oot first thing the morn’s mornin. Guid kens whaur Ah’l lay ma heid the-morn nicht.

Queen: Ye hae a lang trail aheid o ye, Nanse, sae ye haed better tell thaim ti mak up a piece denner for ye in the back kitchen. The’r a pikkil cauld mutton in the kitchen. Juist mynd, Nanse, this is ma lest chaunce. Ah ken it in ma banes Ah’m a deid wumman athoot this wattir, sae you be shuir an dinna you lat me doun!

Nanse: Ah’l no lat ye doun, Mither. Juist you pit yeir mynd at rest! (She kisses the Queen’s hand) Fareweill, Mither!

(Nanse moves to leave)

Queen: (As Nanse reaches door) Haud on a meinit, Nanse! (The Queen lifts up a bag of apples from the top of the drawers at the bedside. Nanse returns to her.) (Giving Nanse the apples) Ye’d better tak this poke o aipils alang wi ye. Morag brocht thaim in lest nicht, but Ah’m no able for thaim at aw. Ye’l mebbe be gled o thaim on the road.

Nanse: Awricht, Mither, thenkye!

(Nanse leaves. The Queen looks anxiously after her for a few seconds.
She then pulls the bell rope and waits. Ringan soon arrives and walks confidently up to the bed.)

Ringan: Whit wes it, yeir Hieness?

(The Queen grabs him by the arm, picks up the stick and belabors him with it)

Ow! Ow-wow-yeow! Mercie! Ow!

Queen: Ye deil that ye ir, whan Ah git up owre this bed Ah’l brek everie bane in yeir bodie. Ah’l lairn ye a lesson ye’l never forget. Ah’l leather the skin aff yeir back!

(Ringan escapes and flees)




Scene 1

The Wal at the Warld’s End a week later. A well with a raised circle of stone. Nearby, a large stone, bracken leaves and a rowan tree with berries. Princess Nanse enters wearily, carrying a stoppered crystal flask and a bag containing a sandwich.

Nanse: (To herself) Im Ah no pugguilt? Ah im fair forfochen, sae Ah im! But this maun be the Magic Wal at lest. (She sits down on the large stone and sighs) (Examining her feet) Ir ma feet no sair? (She takes out a sandwich and munches it enthusiastically. When she is finished she rises and moves towards the well to fill her flask. A ‘puddok’ in a green costume suddenly appears on all fours from behind the bracken and blocks her path.)

Puddok: Haud on nou, ma bonnie princess!

(Nanse looks about her at eye level, but does not see the frog)

Puddok: Ho! Ho! Ho! Luik doun at yeir feet, ma bonnie ane, an ye sal see whit ye sal see!

Nanse: (Seeing the puddok) Mercie on us! A mukkil puddok ----! Wes that you Ah heard speak the-nou?

Puddok: Ay, me! Wha ither? Weill, did ye never hear tell o a speakin puddok? Did ye ever hear tell o glaumerie, ma lassie?

Nanse: ‘Glaumerie---!’ Mebbe Ah hae, an syne mebbe Ah haena. An mebbe Ah dinna aye believe aw Ah hear. But never heed! Ah haena cum aw this road for ti crak wi a puddok, ti be shuir. An siccan an ugsum ane, tae—Oot ma road wi ye, beiss, whyle Ah draw sum wattir for ma flesk!

(The puddok deliberately squats between the princess and the well)

Puddok: Na, Na! Ye canna draw wattir. No you---! Ah gaird the Wal o True Wattir, an naebodie but me can fill yeir flesk.

Nanse: (Indignantly) Dae ye ken wha Ah im?

Puddok: Ay, fyne--- Ye ir the Princess Nanse, hirsell.

Nanse: Weill, ye’d better ken this anaw! Naebodie speaks ti me lyke that. Ah’m no uised wi fowk sayin ‘Na’ ti me.

Puddok: Ye coud be the Queen o Sheba for aw Ah care. We aw hae ti growe up suiner or later.

Nanse: Yer impiddent thing---! Ah hae a guid mynd ti crak yeir lugs for ye.

(She raises her hand to strike the puddok)

Puddok: Ah wadna try that! Whan it cums ti dirdin, twa can play at that game. Oniewey, ye’d hae a gey job ti finnd ma lugs. Ah haena got stickin-oot lugs lyke you. (Nanse feels her ears) (Pointing to his feet) Ah can kick wi thir feet. (He gives a demonstration kick) Ah coud gie ye a richt sair kick wi thae legs. Ma legs is unco strang wi aw the lowpin Ah dae.

Nanse: (Lowering her hand) Ah’m thinkin ye’r owre forritsum for a puddok awthegither. An juist hou did ye ken Ah wes the Princess Nanse, Ah wad lyke ti ken?

Puddok: Glaumerie again---! Ah hae the saicont sicht. Ma mither wes frae Skye. Ah even ken a pikkil Gaelic. Listen---! Tha e uabhasach fuar an diugh. Thoir a-staigh an cu!

Nanse: Whit dis that mean?

Puddok: It means: ‘It’s gey cauld the-day. Bring in the cou!’

Nanse: Cous in the houss, is it? That soonds Hieland aneuch! Weill Puddok, gin ye hae the saicont sicht, ye wul ken that the Queen ma mither, is at Daith’s door wi Greigorie’s Complaint an that she haes a norie that a drap wattir frae this wal wul pit hir ti richts.

Puddok: It’s nae norie. This wattir wul sort onie ill frae plouks ti the Blek Daith.

Nanse: Wul it sort Greigorie’s Complaint?

Puddok: It’s the verra thing for Greigorie’s Complaint. Ae sowp wad be aneuch for that.

Nanse: It’s ill ti credit. Ir ye shuir it’l sort oniething?

Puddok: Hairse thrappils, clocherin hoasts, brounkaities, shachilt feet, hingin painches, lowpin ill (Ah aince suffert frae that masell), yeukie oxters, the blek byle, the green byle, sair heids, rinnin nebs, greitie gruntils, gallopin skitters, --- oniething that ails ye, this wattir wul pit richt in a glisk. Oniething ava---

Nanse: Ai, Ah div wush Ah coud believe ye!

Puddok: A aince saw a deif man thraw awa his trumpet eftir swallaein ae moothfu o this wattir. For the first tyme in his lyfe he coud hear the birds liltin an the gress souchin i the wund. Ah saw a lame man – Hirpil Dick they cawed him – Ah saw a lame man lowp owre a drystane dyke eftir daein nae mair nor weit his mou. It wul sort oniething, Ah tell ye

Nanse: That’s whit ma mither seems ti think. Ah raither think it’s auld wyfe’s haivers masell. Houanever, she thinks it wul dae hir guid, sae ye wul shuirlie obleige me bi fillin ma flesk for me, gin ye winna lat me fill it masell. (She holds out the flask)

Puddok: Ai, but the’r mair til’t nor that! A sicht mair--- In this warld the’r aye a fee ti be peyed for awthing. Shuirlie ye ken that?

Nanse: Ah ken that that’s the wey that sum fowk thinks. That road gangs strecht ti Hell, whaur A dout ye belang.

Puddok: If Ah belang thare, Ah’l never want for guid companie. Shuirlie ye didna for a meinit think ye war gaun ti help yeirsell ti this byordnar wattir for naething. If Ah wes ti lat awbodie help thairsells, aw the doctors in Scotland wad hae ti pit up the shutters.

Nanse: A smaw loss that wad be. (Sobbing) Ye soud think shame o yeirsell ti try ti bergain wi me an ma mither lyin deein--- (She looks at the Puddok to see if she is having any effect, but he pays no attention) ---but Ah see the’r nae shame in ye. Ye’r shameless! Ye’r juist a tink!

Puddok: Insults wul git ye naewhaur. Sticks an stanes wul brek ma banes--!

Nanse: If Ah haed a stick Ah’d tak it ti yeir back.

Puddok: Thraets nou---!

Nanse: (Sighs deeply) Here Puddok---Ah dinna want ti fecht wi ye. Wad ye lyke an aipil? Ah hae sum braw aipils here A haena etten. (She offers him an apple)

Puddok: A never eat aipils. A canna chowe thaim richt.

Nanse: Whit’s yeir fee than, for a pikkil wattir?

Puddok: It’s a fair fee ma lassie, tho mebbe ye winna think sae whan ye hear it. An Ah gie ye the wattir, wul ye mairrie me?

Nanse: Mairrie ye--- ME, mairrie YOU?

Puddok: Mairrie me---! Juist that---!

Nanse: Nae fears---! Whaever heard the lyke? A princess disna mairrie wi a puddok! Whit coud we dae thegither? Ye wad want me ti dae sumthing rude, verra lyke! Whit dae ye think Ah im? Ye’r shuirlie no verra wyce? It is ill aneuch that ye ir ugsum, but ti be a gomeril forby…….. A’m rael vext for ye!

Puddok: Spare me yeir peitie! Ye dinna fancie me?

Nanse: Fancie ye---? Ah dinna want ti hurt yeir feelins, but Ah canna say Ah even fancie ye as a puddok, lat alane ma guidman

Puddok: Sae ye winna mairrie me?

Nanse: A daursay ‘No!’ No lykelie---! Ah wadna even touch ye.

Puddok: Than ye git nae wattir frae me ma prood lassie. Tak yeirsell hame again as quick as ever ye lyke!

Nanse: Bletheration---! Ir YOU gaun ti git oot ma road? (The puddok makes no reply but stands his ground) WUL-YOU-GIT-OOT-MA-ROAD? (This has no effect on the puddok. Nanse clenches her fists, screams and beats her feet on the ground in a tantrum of rage. She then tries to scare him off.) Boo! (No effect)……..Scoot! (No effect) Hap it! (No effect) …….Awa back ti yeir midden---!

Puddok: It’s taids that bydes in middens. Ah’m a puddok!

Nanse: Whit’s the difference? Ye’r a richt skunner, whitever ye ir.

Nance now tries three times to charge past him but he heads her off every time. The first time, she is thwarted she exclaims, ‘’Ye bruit that ye ir!’ , the second tume, ‘Ai ye bruit!’ and the third time, ‘Ai ye skoondrel!

Nanse: (With hands on hips) Sae ye’l no git oot ma road?

Puddok: Binna ye mairrie me, yeir Hieness, ye’l draw nae wattir here.

Nanse: Hae sum sense! Hou coud A ever mairrie the lykes o you? Hae ye seen yeirsell?

Puddok: Huh---! Nae mairriage, nae wattir---!

Nanse: Ye’r a cankert bruit, sae ye ir. Whit ails ye at lassie puddoks? The’r shuirlie plentie o thaim aboot?

Puddok: Plentie---! Plentie o thaim, richt aneuch---!

Nanse: Shuirlie ane o thaim wad tak ti ye! Whit ails ye that ye dinna want ti mairrie wi yeir ain kynd? Ye’r no naitral, naither ye ir. Whaur did ye ever git sic uppitie ideas?

Puddok: A lassie puddok wadna dae for whit Ah hae in mynd.

Nanse: (Horrified) Ooooh! Ah’m shuir Ah dinna lyke the soond o that at aw. Ah dinna richt ken whit ye mean. Here Puddok, A-A canna mairrie ye, b-but wad ye gie me a pikkil wattir if Ah wes ti dae sumthing rude wi ye?

Puddok: Juist whit did ye hae in mynd, Princess?

Nanse: Ah-Ah coud lat ……..Ah coud lat ye see ma breiks!

Puddok: Ah’m gaun ti pretend Ah never heard that! Ah wunner at ye, Princess. Dinna affront me! Nae mairriage, nae wattir---!

Nanse: (Bitterly) Ah’l waste nae mair tyme wi you an yeir haivers. Ah dinna suppose the wattir wad dae ma mither onie guid oniewey. This haill ploy is juist anither o hir daftlyke nories. Ah wes a fuil ever ti listen til hir.

Puddok: Ye ir a fuil no ti listen ti me. This is a mishanter ye’l rue aw yeir days. Whan ye ir an auld wumman noddin awa yeir lane at the inglil neuk, ye’l luik back on this day an ye’l be vext ye turnt me doun.

Nanse: (Contemptuously) Huh! Whan Ah’m an auld wumman, Ah can juist see masell greitin kis Ah didna mairrie a puddok! The suiner Ah win hame oot o this the better.

Puddok: Mynd weill whit Ah say! Ye’l be vext eftir!

Nanse: Awa ye skunner---!

(Nanse turns for home and a curtain falls behind her)

Puddok: (From behind curtain) Ye’l be vext ae day!

Nanse: (To herself) Whitna waste o tyme this haes been---ti cum aw this road on a fuil’s eirant! Whyles Ah think ma mither is a richt stuipit wumman. Ah’m gled Ah dinna tak eftir hir. Mercie me! Mairrie a puddok---! Ah never heard the lyke. It wad be lauchabil an it wesna sae pathetic. Ma mither wul hae ti think o sum ither thing for ti help hir, for shuirlie she wadna want a puddok for hir auldest guidson. Ae day Ah sal be Queen masell an Ah coudna thole a puddok sittin cockin up asyde me on the throne. Ah coudna byde that at aw. Ma mither wul shuirlie see that that wad be owre hie a chairge for a sowp o cauld wattir. Whitever wad fowk thuink? Mebbe Morag wul can bring hirsell ti mairrie the craitur---she’s aye been fond o animals---but no me! Deil a fears! Mercie me! Mairrie a puddok--! Mairrie a puddok for a drap wattir---! Ah never heard the lyke!

(Nanse leaves)



Scene 2

The Wal at the Warld’s End, two weeks later. Princess Morag enters, carrying the flask. She gathers a sprig of red rowan berries from the tree and puts it in her hair. She then sits down by the well to wait. After a few minutes she starts to sing.

Morag: (Sings) Whither I wander East or West,
waking or dreaming, thou art near me,
joy of my heart, Isle of Moola.

Sing ye o the Coolins of Skye,
of Harris or Eigg, or fair Iona,
joy of my heart, Isle of Moola.

Whither I wander East or West
waking or dreaming, thou art near me,
joy of my heart, Isle of Moola.

(The puddok leaps out from behind the bracken leaves)

Puddok: Megstie me! Here anither lassie! An even bonnier ane tae--! The Princess Morag hirsell an Ah’m no mistaen. That’s Mull owre yonder ye war singin aboot. (He points offstage) Juist owre thare owre the wattir --- an awfu place for rain……… an Macleans! An whit wad ye be eftir, littil ane? Ai, but Ah ken fyne masell! But lat you be tellin me!

Morag: (Rising to her feet) A pikkil wattir frae yeir wal, an ye please, kynd puddok.

Puddok: Kynd, is it? Mebbe ay an mebbe no---! At least ye hae a ceivil tung in yeir heid. The’r but the ae wey ti draw wattir frae this wal, yeir sister wul hae telt ye.

Morag: An that is? Ah ken, but lat you be tellin me!

Puddok: Ye maun mairrie me for shuir.

Morag: Mairrie you --- juist that---!

Puddok: Ay, mairrie me, juist that! Nae mairriage, nae wattir. It is as sempil as that, sae it is.

Morag: Dae ye ken richt whit ye ir askin? The Queen, ma mither, said mebbe ye didna ken mukkil aboot mairriage.

Puddok: Ah ken aw that Ah need ti ken.

(Morag looks straight at the Puddok for several seconds)

Morag: Ir the nae ither wey? Nae ither wey ava---?

Puddok: Na, nae ither wey---

Morag: Wad a kiss no dae?

Puddok: Na, Deil a fears! Ye canna fleitch me. Did yeir sister, Nanse, no tell ye?

(Morag looks again at the puddok for several seconds)

Puddok: (Encouragingly) Ah’m in guid health. Watch this lowp! (He gives a demonstration leap)

Morag: (Sighing) Weill, that is whit A maun dae. Ah maun mairrie ye, Puddok, whuther ye can lowp or no, for Ah loue the Queen ma mither weill. An gin she disna git a sowp o this wattir suin, she wul shuirlie dee. Gin Ah canna git it for hir athoot mairriein ye, weill Ah maun mairrie ye. Whit ither---?

Puddok: Weill said, ma lassie! (He gives another great leap) Lat it be! An kis this is a magic place, ye maunna gang back on yeir words. The’r nae turnin back nou!

Morag: Dae ye want ti git mairrit richt awa ……… this verra meinit---? The’r nae priest here.

Puddok: Whitfor wad we be wantin a priest? In Scotland ye can hae a common law mairriage. It spares ye the fash o buyin in meat an drink for a hantil fowk ye never see frae ae year’s end til anither. It’s a sicht cheaper, tae.

Morag: (Looking down dubiously at her clothes) But Ah’m no buskit for a waddin. Ma claes is a richt mess wi me be-in on the road aw week. Ah im aw cuivert wi stour.

(She brushes her clothes with her hands)

Puddok: Mercie, lassie, ye’l dae fyne as ye ir. Ye wadna want ti be owre graund for an ootsyde waddin. The’l be naebodie here ti see ye but masell, an frae nou on, it wul be me ti please. We micht as weill stert the wey we mean ti gae on, an Ah say, ye’l dae fyne.

Morag: Whit div we hae ti dae than?

Puddok: The’r naething til’t. Pit you yeir richt haund in mynes an yeir ither haund on ma heid!

(Morag obeys)

Morag: Yeir heid’s awfu cauld.

Puddok: Ye’l git uised wi that.

Morag: Ah howp sae.

Puddok: Quaet nou---! Staun still i the bit!………………. (Intones) Div ye, Princess Morag, promise ti tak this puddok ti be yeir guidman foraye, ti fesh an cirrrie for him, an feed, cleid, redd up eftir him an luik eftir him aw yeir leevin days?

Morag: Ay, Ah div!

Puddok: Dae ye promise no ti conter him in oniething he micht want ti dae, whitever it micht be?

Morag: Ah div!

Puddok: Wul ye nurse me whan Ah’m no weill an whan Ah’m auld an dottilt, athoot girnin an makkin onie complaint?

Morag: Ah wul!

Puddok: An wul ye aye dae whit ye ir telt wi a guid grace, an no speak back ti me whan ye ir checkit?

Morag: Ah wul!

Puddok: An wul ye not tak the dorts an gang intil a huff whan Ah hae ti leather ye?

Morag: O Dear---! Awricht, Ah winna!

Puddok: An wul ye buirie me in a wycelyke mainner in halie grund whan Ah’m deid?

Morag: Ah wul!

Puddok: Nou, wat thoums!

(The puddok and Morag lick their thumbs and hook them together firmly but briefly)

Puddok: (Intones) Gin thare be oniebodie here that objeks ti this puddok an this lassie be-in yokit thegither in halie matrimony aw thair leevin days, lat him speak oot nou or haud his tung foraye!

Morag: But the’r naebodie here that coud objek!

Puddok: Naither the ir! Weill that’s that! That’s us yokit! (They disengage and Morag steps back) Ah canna say A feel mukkil different, be-in mairrit lyke.

Morag: (Plaintively) Is that aw? Is that ma waddin feinisht? Is that ae there is?

Puddok: That’s aw that Ah can mynd. That wes the important bit, oniewey.

Morag: That’s us mairrit than?

Puddok: Ay, mairrit ye ir frae this verra meinit on a puddok, an a lang an blythsum lyfe ti the perr o us, ma bonnie lassie. Ye can clap me nou whanever ye lyke. Wad ye lyke ti try? (Morag looks doubtful) C’mon, gie’s a bit clap, Wyfe! (Morag hold out her hand uncertainly, but withdraws it again) C’mon, dinna be blate!

Morag: O, awricht--- (She pats him gingerly, and he responds by expanding himself) Ah’m no shuir Ah mukkil lyke the feel o ye. (Sobbing) Yeir skin feels kynd o claggie. It brings me in mynd o a wultit lettuce leaf.

Puddok: Nounae, nounae, ye needna fash yeirsell. Juist dae ae thing at a tyme! The’r nae hurry – naething soud be duin in haste but grippin flaes. Ye hae yeir haill lyfe aheid ti git uised ti me. Ah’l suin keep ye richt if A see ye gang wrang. Ye can aye depend on me for that.

Morag: Ah dinna feel verra weill. Ma heid’s fair birlin. Ah think Ah’l sit doun for a meinit.

(Morag sits down at the edge of the well)

Puddok: It’s littil wunner ye’r wurkit up on yeir waddin day. It’s a big day for a lassie. Juist you hae a wee rest or ye gether yeirsell!

Morag: A dinna feel richt at aw. Is this luiv, dae ye think?

Puddok: That wul cum later. For a hantil couples the luiv cums later.

Morag: Hou lang wul Ah hae ti wait?

Puddok: It micht cum the-morn’s morn—it micht tak fortie year.

Morag: The truibil is, Ah’m no shuir Ah want it ti cum……… Whit else dae Ah hae ti dae, G-Guidman?

Puddok: Ah’l think o sumthing eftir. Nou, Ah wad lyke ti sing ye a wee sang for ti divert ye, an ti hansil oor mairriage.
O gie ti me an oor at ein,
ma airms aboot ma dearie, O
an wardlie cares an wardlie men
can aw gang tapsalteirie, O
Green growe the rashes, O
Green growe the rashes, O
The sweetwest oors that eir Ah spent
war spent amang the lassies, O

Morag: Whit guid words---! Did ye mak thaim up yeirsell oot yeir ain heid?

Puddok: No awthegither! Ah gat the notion o thaim frae a plouman that wantit a drink at the Wal ae day. The war mair words nor thae, but Ah canna mynd the lave.

Morag: Nou that we’r mairrit, Guidman, whaur we gaun ti byde?

Puddok: Weill, Ah dout Ah haena a houss for ye, an we canna verra weill byde in the Wal. That wadna suit you at aw. Ferr owre damp--! The’r snails an mukkil slugs an speiders an slaiters an hairie oubats doun thare.

Morag: Hou dae ye ken?

Puddok: (Hopping up to the well) Hou dae Ah ken? (Looking down into the well) That’s been ma hame thir lest fowr year. Ah haed ti eat thae things for want o oniething mair halesum

Morag: Ye puir thing, wes that aw ye haed ti eat.

Puddok: Whyles Ah’d finnd a bit wurm on the gress eftir a shour o rain. Ah haed a mukkil blek slug for ma denner yestrein.

Morag: (Makes a face) Yugh!

Puddok: Ah wes gled for ti git it, Ah can tell ye – it wes aither that or naething at aw. Monie’s the day Ah haed ti pit in wi a tuim kyte. If Ah’d been owre parteiklar, Ah’d been awa ti skin an bane bi nou. (He examines his forearm) (Turning away) Oniewey, ye canna byde in thare for shuir, sae we’l juist hae ti set up houss thegither in yir mither’s pailace. That wey, Ah’d aye be shuiir o raiglar meat. Ah daursay she disna want for room thare, an Ah hae aye haed a notion ti try the lyfe at the Coort. Nou that Ah’m yeir Guidman, Ah expek Ah’l be made Prince Consort or the Duke o Forfar, or sumthing o the kynd.

It wul be guid ti git inti sum smert claes. Ah’ve aye fancied a reid velvet jauiket wi lace cuffs …….an mebbe green silk hosen for ma legs, an siller bickles on ma shuin. That wad luik rael smertlyke, Ah think.

Morag: Mercie me---!

Puddok: Ah’l be gled o the divert. The chynge wul dae me a warld o guid. Whan aw said an duin Ah’ve been here lang aneuch. (Reflectively)

Eftir a whyle ye git awfu seik o plowterin amang the dubs aw bi yeirsell. At first, lowpin is fyne – it gies ye a bit lift – but whyles ye say ti yeirsell: ‘Whit else ir the ti dae?’ Ye say: ‘Is this aw thare is? Whit hae A duin wi ma lyfe?’

Morag: (Rises to her feet) Guidman, Ah’l hae ti hurrie hame nou wi the wattir. Ma mither is gey hard up an she canna wait that lang. Dae ye want ti cum hame wi me nou?

Puddok: Na, no yit! Yeir faimlie wul no be expekkin me alang wi ye. Ye’d better gang hame first bi yeirsell an lat thaim ken ye’r mairrit an that Ah’m cummin on ahint. They’l want tyme ti prepare a richt walcum for me. Ah daursay they’l want ti thraw a bit pairtie – a reception lyke, wi wyne an mebbe a bit Selkirk bannie an a pikkil shortbreid – for the perr o us.

That wul be sumthing ti luik forrit til. Ah aye lyke ti hae sumthing ti luik forrit til. Dae ye ken, whyles Ah hae sutten here on ma hunkers in the dreipin rain for oors on end, raxin ma hairns tryin ti think whit Ah haed ti luik forrit til, an Ah haena been able ti think o a singil thing.

Morag: Puddok, that’s waesum. A im rael vext ti hear that.

Puddok: (Pathetically) That’s awricht ma lassie, we aw hae oor crosses ti beir. Whyles Ah hae thocht ti masell: whitna dreich lyfe--! A micht as weill never hae been born at aw as pit in ma days this gait. Day eftir day, eftir day at Ardnamurchan – aw ma lane wi a sair hert …….at the End o the Warld.

Morag: Puddok, ye’r brekkin ma hert!

Puddok: Gin ye haedna cum alang, Princess. Ah dinna ken whit Ah’d hae duin. (Sobbing) Ah dinna think A coud hae tholed it onie langir. (She puts her arm round the Puddok’s shoulder)

Morag: Puddok, ir the oneithing Ah can dae for ti help? Ye dinna need ti byde here onie langir, Puddok. Whit can Ah dae? Wad ye lyke anither clap?

Puddok: (Pathetically, moving away) It’s awricht, Princess. It’s awricht! (She moves to follow him) (Sobbing) Juist leave iz alane, wul ye? Leave iz alane!

Morag: If that’s whit ye want, Puddok---

Puddok: Ah’l gether masell in a meinit.

Morag: Born---! Did A hear ye say ye war born?

Puddok: (Recovering his composure) Ay, Ah did say that!

Morag: But Puddok, shuirlie ye warna born! Did ye no cum oot an egg as a wee podil? Ah hae seen thaim whyles soumin aboot at the wattirsyde, afore they war ready ti chynge inti tottie littil puddoks.

Puddok: Na, it wesna lyke that wi me! Ma, Ah wes never a podil at aw, afore A turnt intil a puddok. Ye’l mebbe hae noticed, in sum respeks, Ah’m no the same as ither puddoks. Ah’m bigger, for a stert. Ye’l hae noticed that!

Morag: Ye’r a maist byordnar puddok richt aneuch!

Puddok: Guidwyfe, this is no sumthing it pleases me ti speak aboot at this ty (Looking up) But A see the rain’s lyke ti stert again. It’s never verra ferr awa here in the Hielands. A dout we’r in for anither richt blatter! The’r nae beild here at aw.

(Morag looks up at the sky)

Puddok: Ye’d better luik sherp richt aneuch. Ah wadna want ye ti git droukit. It disna maitter that mukkil for me – Ah’m no weirin onie claes. The wattir juist skails aff ma skin. Here gie’s yeir flesk!

(The Puddok jumps onto the side of the well, takes the flask from the Princess, fills it up with water and hands it back to her)

Puddok: Hyuh! (Hands the flask to her) Gang hame nou, Wyfe! Gie the Queen, yeir mither, juist ae sowp o the watter that is in this flesk an aw wul be weill. At aince, she’l be richt as rain. She’l never ken she haed Greigorie’s Complaint. But you mak siccar she disna drink owre mukkil at the ae tyme, or she’l stert rinnin eftir oniething she sees wi breiks on! It haes that effek whyles.

Morag: Thenk ye verra kyndlie, Guidman!

Puddok: Aff wi ye nou---! Loss nae tyme! On yeir road--! Ah’l be lowpin eftir ye suin, an Ah’l no be ferr ahint ye, for Ah im a fest travlar. Ai ay, an mynd an tell yeir mither Ah dinna lyke tattie soup! Ah’m no ill ti please, but Ah canna thole tattie soup at aw. She’l be gled ti hear Ah’m no fykie wi ma meat.

Morag: Ir ye shuir ye can manage aw that road bi yeirsell? It’s a gey lang wey frae here.

Puddok: Dinna you bather yeir bonnie heid aboot me! Aince Ah git richt soupilt up Ah can fairlie lowp. Ah’l dae fyne. Gie’s anither clap afore ye gang! Ah lyke it best on the powe. (Morag pats him gingerly on the head and he shows sign of pleasure. She then leaves with the flask)

Puddok: (Cries after her) Dinna daidil on the road nou! Ah’l no be lang eftir ye.

The puddok does a joyous dance to music in reel time in a crouching position. He then hops slowly round the well)

(He gives a vigorous leap and exit)



Scene 1

The Queen’s chaumer, a week later in the afternoon. The Queen is sitting in a chair by the bed, attended by Princess Nanse. The Queen’s robe is hanging on the back of the door. There is an armchair with a cushion and an outsize ‘flower pot’ in one corner of the room. Nanse has an invalid cup in her hand and is trying to feed the Queen with it. The carafe is now empty.

Nanse: Mither, ye maun try an tak mair o this guid kail. C’mon try an feinish thaim afore they git cauld! Morag soud be hame the-day an Ah want ti git this chaumer redd up. This place is lyke a muck midden.

Queen: Ah dinna feel lyke onie mair. Ah’m in puir fettil again the-day.

Nanse: Juist try a wee pikkil mair. They’l pit color in yeir chowks.

Queen: (Doubtfully) Ay, Ah daursay.

Nanse: C’mon Mither, they’l stick til yeir ribs!

Queen: Ma ribs haes aye been weill aneuch happit.

Nanse: (Insistently) C’mon nou, nae mair o yeir nonsense---!

(The Queen tries to take more soup through the spout, but fails with a gurgle)

Queen: This contraption is no soukin richt. Ah dout the’r a pea stuck in the stroup. (She tries to clear it with her finger) Hyuh! (She hands the invalid cup to Nanse, who lays it on the chest of drawers. She then pulls the bell rope. After two or three seconds, Ringan enters with trepidation.)

Ringan: Ay, yeir Hieness!

Queen: Ringan, ma laddie, wul ye tak this pikkil soup awa an gie it ti the dugs? (Ringan takes the sup and moves to leave, muttering, ‘Gie it til the dugs!’)

Queen: Haud on a meinit, Ringan! (Ringan turns round)

Ringan: Yeir Hieness---?

Queen: Hou lang hae ye been wi me nou, Ringan?

Ringan: Twa year cum Lammas, yeir Hieness.

(Nanse leaves)

Queen: An Ah mynd richt, ye war taen on aboot the tyme they war burnin yon auld wutch, Belle Heislop, doun in the Mercat square. Ai, Ah think Ah hear hir skellochin yit, whan the lowe stertit ti birsil hir skin. Jings, yon maun fairlie hae been sair! Whitna stramash thon wes! Mebbe Ah’m owre saft-hertit, but Ah’ve never enjoyit seein fowk burnt. Mebbe she wes never a richt wutch at aw, Ah’m thinkin.

Ringan: She haed nae teeth, an a plouk on hir neb, yeir Hieness

Queen: Mercie me, ma mither haed nae teeth in hir heid in the hinner end, but naebodie daured ti mak oot she wes a wutch.

Ringan: They fand the Deil’s claw merk on Belle Heislop’s left hurdie, whaur he haed gruppit hir, an the Deil wes aince seen in the maik o a houdie craw, sittin cockin up on hir claes lyne.

Queen: Howt, monie’s the houdie craw Ah hae seen whan Ah wes a bairn on the ferm at Kershopefuit. Ah never aince saw yin turnin intil the Deil. It is in ma mynd that Ah soud never hae alloued the priests ti burn Belle. An they haed crappit hir lugs for hir an gien hir a richt guid lounderin, it micht hae been aneuch for onie mischief she got up til wi a houdie craw.
But awbodie wes set on burnin hir at the tyme. Ah dout Ah’m owre easie persuadit bi the men whyles. Ma mither wairned me aboot that. Ah’ve aften been vext aboot it eftir.

(Ringan looks at her with astonishment)

But Ah see ye’r gittin ti be a gret mukkil laddie nou. Ah dinna ken – thir days the weeks flees by lyke bees. Ringan, Ah’m no a weill wumman at aw an Ah dout Ah’m no lang for this warld..

Ringan: Ah’m rael vext ti hear ye say that, yeir Hieness. Ah didna ken ye war sae bad---

Queen: (Imperiously) Did Ah say ye coud speak? As Ah wes sayin afore ye spak back ti me (Hou monie tymes dae Ah hae ti tell ye aboot that?), Ah dout Ah’m no lang for this warld an no lyke ready for the neist, but the’r sumthing Ah maun say ti ye whyle the’r still tyme.

Queen: Whyles ye mebbe think Ah’m owre sair on ye, but ye’r still a bit hauflin, an onie tyme Ah hae leathert ye, it’s aye been for yeir ain guid. Ah want ye ti mynd that whan ye ir man-mukkil an ye think back on this tyme. Ringan, Ah wadna lyke ti leave this warld ahint, wi you mebbe thinkin ti yeirsell Ah hae been a dour mistress ti ye. Ah’m no a haurd wumman. Ah’m mebbe no saft, but Ah’m no haurd aither. (She beckons) Ringan, cum owre here, laddie!

(Ringan approaches in a state of conflict)

Here Son, wad ye no lyke ti gie me a kiss here?

(She points to her cheek)

Ah maun be an awfu jaud whan big laddie lyke you winna kiss me!

(Ringan, still carrying the invalid cup, kisses her awkwardly. The Queen pulls him onto her knee and kisses him vigorously.)

Thare a bonnie lad! Ye hae ti stert sumwhaur, eh? Whit dae ye say, Ringan?

(Ringan looks confused)

Whit dae ye hae ti say ti me aboot that kiss ye stale frae ma lips?

(Ringan wipes his mouth with his sleeve)

Ringan: Thenk ye yeir Hieness!

Queen: Is that aw?

Ringan: (Hangs his head) Yeir Hieness, Ah’m behauden til ye for the obleigement.

Queen: Ir the oniething ither Ah can dae for ye Ringan? C’mon, dinna be blate! Ye’r a growein laddie. Wad ye lyke ti pit yeir haund neist ma hert? Ye’l no be eftir oniething Ah haena heard o afore.

Ringan: Coud Ah hae a ploum, yeir Hieness? Ah wad fair lyke a ploum.

Queen: A ploum, is it? Ye’r no sae auld as Ah thocht.. Gin A wes weill, Ah coud dae better nor that. Ah coud show ye a thing or twa, Ringan. Ye’d think yeir thrappil wes cut or Ah wes throu wi ye! Ye’d suin forget aw aboot ploums, Ah can tell ye! But never heed!

(She pushes Ringan roughly off her knees)

Awricht, Son, gang you doun ti the back kitchen an tell Tibbie Ah said ye war ti hae twa ploums! An ye can clap the pownie whyles tae – but no owre aften, mynd! Whit div ye say ti that?

(Nanse enters)

Ringan: Thenk ye kyndlie, yeir Hieness. Ah aye lykit ye, a wee bit. The ploums is awfu guid.

Queen: That wul juist dae, Ringan. Awa an eat yeir ploums--! Awa wi ye---!

(She waves dismissively and Ringan bows and leaves)

Queen: Ir’s a guid job bairns is easy pleased. Whitna nicht Ah pat in lest nicht! Ah heard a knock that canna be mistaen on ma door in the wee smaw oors.

Nanse: Whitever dae ye mean, Mither?

Queen: Daith cam chappin at ma door lest nicht, tho it turnt oot ti be juist a wairnin. The neist tyme he caws, it wul be ti mak me his ain.

Nanse: C’mon Mither, it’s no that bad, shuirlie. Ye’r nae better, but ye’r nae waur, aither.

Queen: It’s nae thenks ti you Ah’m no deid yit.

Nanse: Mither, Ah’ve telt ye mair nor aince Ah’m vext Ah didna manage ti bring ye wattir frae the Magic Wal. Hou monie tymes dae Ah need ti tell ye, Ah wes juist aboot ti fill ma flesk for ye, whan up bangs this mukkil ill-trickit puddok frae ahint sum brekken an stauns in ma road? It didna maitter whit Ah said til him – he wadna lat me fill ma flesk binna Ah wad promise ti mairrie him.

Queen: Ay, Ah hear ye. Ah maun be growein auld, richt aneuch! Things lyke this didna happen whan Ah wes a yung quyne. Mebbe it’s tyme Ah wes awa for guid.

Nanse: Dinna speak ti me lyke that, Mither! That’s whit happent.

Queen: (Angrily) A mukkil speakin puddok gat in yeir road an wantit ye ti mairrie him! It’s ill ti credit. A puddok that chases eftir lassies! A radgie puddok---! Ah never heard the lyke! In aw ma born days Ah never heard the lyke!

Nanse: It’s the God’s honest truith, Mither. Ah coud dae naething wi him. He wadna shift oot ma road wi his mukkil hotchin bodie. Ah’m no makkin it up, Mither, it’s God’s honest truith.

Queen: (Wearily) Ay, richt aneuch. It maun be true. Ah believe ye. Ah dinna ken wha else wad! (Angrily) Weill ye hizzie, coud ye no hae pusht him oot yeir wey, shuirlie?

Nanse: He wes owre lourd, Mither. He wes bigger nor me.

Queen: He wes bigger nor you? (Nanse nods) Sum puddok………! Oniewey, ye micht hae thocht o tryin ti fleitch him for ma sake. Did ye never think o tryin ti souk up til him? Ye war aye guid at that.

Nanse: He wadna fleitch, Mither. He wes an unco thrawn puddok.

Queen: (Scornfully) Dae ye ken whit Ah think? Ah’m thinkin that Maister Rintoul said that onlie a true lousum hert coud fesh me wattir frae the Magic Wal. Ye thocht ye loued me, but aiblins ye didna loue me aneuch. Ah maun be an awfu jaud that no even ma ain dochter thinks mukkil o me.

Nanse: Mither, Ah’m rael vext at the wey things haes turnt oot. Dae ye think Ah wantit ti gang aw that road an cum back again wi naething? Ah did ma best – naebodie can dae mair – but the Puddok wes that sonsie an ugsum, Ah fair taen a skunner at him. The verra sicht o him wi his pudgetie bodie on him wes aneuch ti gar ye grue.

Queen: (Bitterly) O ay, is that no awfu lyke ye? Whit a peitie it wad be gin ye war skunnert! Ah wes skunnert monie a tyme wi whit Ah haed ti dae for you whan ye war a bairn. Dae ye ken this? Ye war the clairtiest bairn Ah ever saw. Dinna you speak ti me aboot be-in skunnert! Ah micht hae kent ye wad pit yeirsell first. Me! Me! Me! aw the tyme. Here im Ah, lyin at Daith’s door an ye wadna dae ae thing ti save me.

Nanse: Mither, weill ye ken that that isna fair. Ye shuirlie wadna hae wantit me ti mairrie sic a craitur?

Queen: (Tearfully) Dinna be daft! Ye coud hae got roond him. Mairrie a puddok? Dinna be rideekluss! (Background bathetic music) Ah tell ye whit it is, ye bring bairns inti this warld an ye git gey littil thenks for it in the feinish, eftir aw ye dae. Ah aften think the mair ye dae the less ye’r thocht o. (Sobbing) The best tymes war whan ye war bairns rinnin aboot the gairden lyke sae monie butterflies, an Ah didna ken whit wes afore me.

Nanse: Stap it, Mither!

Queen: (Hysterically) If Ah’d kent whit wes aheid o me – if Ah haed kent whit Ah ken nou, Ah’d hae drouned masell in Loch Leven langsyne, but Ah wes owre feart for the wattir, aye. Ah uist ti be feart for be-in deid – whitna dreid o Daith Ah haed – but Ah’m no feart nou --- AH WUSH AH WES DEID!

Nanse: Wul you stap it, Mither? Wheisht!


Nanse: Wheisht, for the luiv o Guidness!

Queen: (Chanting foolishly) Sum say the Deil’s deid an buirit in Kirkcaldy. Sum say he’l ryse again an daunse the Hieland laddie.

Nanse: Sumbodie wul hear ye.. Haud yeir bletherin tung for onie sake!

Queen: Doun ablo the green gress wi the outlin sterns skinklin abuin for thousans an thousans o years. Whit a lang tyme we’r aw deid: aw the tyme afore we’r born, an aw the tyme eftir we dee. It disna beir thinkin aboot. Dae ye ken, the’r an auld man in Paisley maks oot that hunders o thousans o years syne, lang afore we war aw born, the warld wes thrang wi gret lizards bigger nor elephants: mukkil puddok-lyke craiturs wi sherp teeth, lowpin aboot snakkin at ither aw owre the place. He says he haes seen sum o thair banes in the grund. Whaur war we aw than, Ah wunner? We war deid, but we didna ken we war deid?

Nanse: Mither, awbodie kens thon man in Paisley is no wyce. He’s dottilt in the heid! Ah think ye’ve gotten puddoks on the brain, sae ye hae!

Queen: (Plaintively) Nanse, whan Ah’m deid, promise me ye wul cum an pit a bit flouer on ma lair aince in a whyle! Even a wee posie o forget-me-nots wad dae. Ye’l no forget me awthegither? Ye’l try an mynd the guid things aboot me?

(Nanse shakes her head, breathes heavily, draws up a chair purposefully, and sits down by the Queen)

Mither: Mither, ye ir makkin a fuil o yeirsell. Try an settil doun. (Peering anxiously at her) Yeir face is aw begrutten. Nou that Ah hae a richt luik at ye, Ah can see ye ir nae better. Ah dinna lyke the luik o ye at aw.

Queen: Dinna you speak ti me! It’s aw your blame Ah’m lyke this.

(Nanse puts hand on Queen’s shoulder)

Nanse: Mither---! It’s naebodie’s blame, Mither.

Queen: Dae ye ken, Nanse, ilka day Ah see masell in the lookin gless, Ah see ma face turnin aulder. Ah can see ma skin stertin ti runkil an ma lips stertin ti cryne awa. Ah’m turnin intil an auld kerlin, Nanse. Whan Ah wes a lassie Ah uised ti say ti masell: ‘Ah’m owre guid ti waste! Ahl never be auld – Ah’l juist aye byde the wey A im nou!’ Ah dinna lyke masell onie mair, Nanse. Whyles Ah see masell lyke yon auld wutch they brunt in the Mercat Square, yowlin an skraichin wi hir auld raggitie duds bleizin aw aboot hir. Ah think ti masell that mebbe she wes aince a bonnie yung quyne wi nae ill in hir. (Sobbing) Nanse, ma haill lyfe haes turnt intil a dreich dream.

Nanse: (Lays her hand on the Queen’s forehead) Ye soudna lat yeirsell git het up lyke this, Mither. It’s no guid for ye.

(She hands the Queen a handkerchief)

Queen: (Blows her nose) Ah ken, Ah ken…… Ah’m a daft besom. Mebbe gin Ah coud hae a richt guid greit, Ah wad feel the better for it? Ah juist canna git ma greit richt oot.

Nanse: C’mon back inti yeir bed, Mither! Ah’l git Ringan for ti help. (She pulls the bell rope) Ye’r aw wrocht up for nae guid reason. Ye’r feart for the day ye never saw. It’s mair nor tyme ye war haein anither rest.

(Ringan enters. Nanse beckons to him and she and Ringan help the Queen into the bed, but in the process, Ringan accidentally touches the Queen’s bosom.)

Queen: (Sitting up, to Ringan) Ye’r owre free wi yeir haunds, YOU! Whit dae ye think ye’r daein? Whit ir ye up ti?

Ringan: N-N-Naething, yeir Hieness--! Ah didna dae naething.

Queen: Ye wretch that ye ir, you keep yeir vulgar haunds ti yeirsell! Ah felt yeir impiddent fingirs on ma breist the-nou. Ye maunna middil the ryal person! Fowk haes lost thair heids for nae mair nor ye did the-nou. (She glares at Ringan)

Ringan: Ah wes juist tryin for ti help ye, yeir Hieness.

Nanse: OOT----!

(She imperiously motions Ringan to leave the chamber, and aims a kick at him. Ringan retires in confusion, bowing and walking backwards.)

Queen: That loun wul be the daith o me. The neck o him---! Wha dis he think he is? Ah dinna ken----! Leatherins seems ti dae him nae guid.. But hou wad YOU lyke aw YOUR teeth an hair ti faw oot? A bonnie sicht YOU wad look --- a wumman wi nae hair an nae teeth! A bonnie sicht YOU wad look!

Nanse: Ah think ye’r fair deleirit, Mither. Whitever ir ye on aboot?

Queen: That’s whit happens ti fowk wi Greigorie’s Ill. Thair teeth an aw the hair o the heid faws oot afore they dee. A pikkil hair cam oot on ma kaim this mornin.

Nanse: Sae that’s whit’s batherin ye!

Queen: Maister Rintoul telt me --- Ah’m feart whanever Ah think aboot it.

Nanse: Thare’s been hair on yeir kaim everie tyme ye’ve duin yeir heid for as lang’s Ah can mynd. It’l be awricht, Mither. Morag wul bring the magic wattir. Ah’m shuir she’l git roond this puddok ae wey or anither.

Queen: Ah howp sae. Ai, Ah div howp sae!

Nanse: Ah’m shuir she’l no be lang nou.

Queen: (With a start) Whaur is she oniewey? She soud hae been hame afore this. Sumthing haes happent til hir. Ah’m shuir o’t.

Nanse: Naething wul hae happent til hir.

Queen: Morag’s couthier nor you an she soud git on better wi the puddok.

Nanse: Mither---!

Queen: It is in ma mynd that mebbe ye war owre prood awthegither ti speak in a kyndlyke wey ti the craitur. Ah dout ye wul hae been tactless an putten his birss up, no that he wul hae a birss, cum ti think o’t. Ye war aye tactless, Nanse. Ye dinna tak eftir me at aw.

Queen: Ma ain mither, bliss hir, aye uised ti say ti me, ‘Meg’ she wad say, ‘a richt princess disna luik doun hir neb at oniebodie or oniething.’ Ah’ve never forgotten hir sayin that.

Nanse: Ah tryit ti speak nyce til him, Mither, but he wes sic a nyaf.

Queen: Mebbe if Morag explains ti the craitur juist whit he is askin, he wul lippen ti sense. It micht be that he disna ken mukkil aboot the fleshlie syde o mairriage.

Nanse: Oor Morag disna ken mukkil aboot it hirsell. She gat a kiss aince frae cuisin Geordie. Ah think that’s aboot aw she haes haed in hir haill lyfe.

Queen: Michtie, that wes whan they war but bairns. The truibil wi you, Nanse, is that ye tak eftir yeir faither. A richt sachless pudden he wes, if ever the war ane. Monie’s the sair hert Ah haed wi him. Ti be mairrit on a puddok coudna be onie waur nor be-in yokit ti yon mukkil sumf. Gin the’r ae thing that keeps me gaun, it’s kennin that Ah’l never hae ti share a bed wi yon again.

Nanse: Mither, Ah wush ye wadna speak aboot ma faither lyke that. Ye maun hae been whyles freinlie wi him or Morag an me wad never hae been born.

Queen: Freinlieness haed naething adae wi it.

(There is a commotion in the courtyard below and Nanse moves to look out of the window)

Nanse: Mercie, here Morag back again! She’s doun in the coortyaird an she’s rinnin lyke sum bogil war eftir hir. Ah didna expek ti see hir this suin.

Queen: The Lord be praisit! She’l hae brocht the wattir wi hir?

Nanse: Ah dinna ken, but she’s cairriein the flesk in hir haund. She’s luikin gey doun in the dumps aboot sumthing.

Queen: Dinna say she’s cum hame wi a tuim flesk! O dinna---!

(Morag enters running, carrying the flask with water)

Morag: (Triumphantly) Mither, Ah hae duin it! See---! Magic Wattir---!

Queen: Gie me that flesk at aince! Ma lyfe’s no duin yit. (The Queen takes the flask and drinks deeply from it) Ach, Ah dinna ken onie difference! It’s a swick!

Morag: Mither, caw cannie, ye war juist ti tak ae sowp!

Queen: (Exhaling deeply) Ha-ah! Ah’m tellin a lee! Ah think Ah div feel a sicht better areddies. Ah can feel it wurkin awa in ma intimmers.

(She takes a number of deep breaths)

Nanse: Ah can haurlie credit it, but ye’r luikin mair lyke yeirsell, richt aneuch.

Queen: Wha wes Ah lyke afore, Ah wunner? Ah’m better awricht! Haund iz owre ma dressin goun! Ah’m gaun ti git owre the bed.

Nanse: Mither dae ye think that’s wyce?

Queen: (To Nanse) Haund iz that goun ye limmer that ye ir!

Morag: (Fetching the gown) Here, Mither---! (Hands it to Queen)

(Queen rises and puts on her robe and slippers)

Queen: Dae ye ken, Ah feel a sicht better nor ever Ah did afore Ah wes seik? Weill Morag, Ah kent ye wadna lat me doun. Is this no juist graund? Ah’m as licht as a feather on ma feet. (She trips around lightly) Ah think we wul mebbe hae a bit daunce in the haw the-nicht. This is a fair meiracle! But Morag, ma bairn, hou did ye manage ti git roond this unco puddok?

(There is a knock at the door and Ringan enters breathlessly)

Ringan: Yeir Hieness, Maister Rintoul is ootby speirin eftir ye.

Queen: Maister Rintoul----! Whit’s he daein here?

Nanse: Ah sent for him first thing this mornin, Mither, whan Ah saw ye war in sic bad fettil.

Queen: (To Nanse) O ye did, did ye? Ah didna ken that. Ah’m no in bad fettil nou. (To Ringan) Aweill than, Laddie, shaw him in at aince!

(Exit Ringan)

Mercie, Ah’ve nae tyme ti speak til him the-nou! He maun hae ridden here aw the road frae Cupar whan he gat wurd Ah wes haurd up.

(Ringan returns with Rintoul, who is carrying a satchel)

Rintoul: (Bowing) Yeir Grace, Ah rade here as fest as ever Ah coud whan Ah heard Ah wes wantit.

Queen: It’s an awfu day ti bring ye sae ferr, Maister Rintoul.

Rintoul: Ah’ve ridden here strecht frae the killin-houss at Cupar, but Ah didna grudge the traivel, yeir Grace. Ah hae brocht sumthing wi me that wul mebbe dae sum guid, tho the’r littil aneuch that can be duin.

(He pulls out a blood-stained poultice from the satchel)

Queen: Whit the leevin Hairrie is that?

Rintoul: It’s a poultice, yeir Grace for yeir heid.

Queen: For ma heid---?

Rintoul: It’s a spaicial poultice that’s made wi the hairns o a sheep that’s no lang deid. If it’s putten on het, it whyles brings sum easement near the end ti the sair heid that gangs wi Greigorie’s Ill. The sheep’s hairns is for drawin oot the unco pyne that cums aye i the feinish, no lang afore ye gie up the gaist.

Queen: Maister Rintoul, this is rael guid o ye, but Ah’m gled ti say Ah’l no be needin yeir poultice, sae ye can pit it awa oot o sicht! Ah dinna lyke the look o it an Ah dinna want it lyin aboot in here! (Rintoul obeys)

The Princess Morag, bliss hir, haes juist cum back frae the Wal at the Warld’s End an brocht me a pikkil Magic Wattir, an Ah’m as richt as rain again, thenks ti yeir guid coonsel.

Rintoul: Ah wunnert whit ye war daein oot yeir bed, yeir Grace. Richt aneuch, ye ir lookin a guid sicht better, an ye haena lost yeir hair, Ah see. Ah’m rael gled ti hear this graund news, yeir grace --- rael gled ti hear it --- but ye’d better watch an try no ti dae owre mukkil at first. Juist caw cannie, that’s the thing!

Queen: Maister Rintoul, we’r mukkil behauden ti ye, but we’r byordnar thrang the-day. Ah dinna ken whuther Ah’m on ma heid or ma heels! Coud ye cum back an see us in, say, fullie a fortnicht’s tyme, an we’l see that ye ir weill rewairdit for yeir truibil.

(She motions to Ringan to see Rintoul out)

Rintoul: Ah’l cum back an see ye, yeir Grace, aboot this tyme a fortnicht the-day than. Mercie, Ah never saw sic a turn for the better! Whitna blissin this haes been! Whitna blissin--! (Rintoul retires with Ringan, walking backwards and bowing) Yeir Grace---!

Queen: Ah’l see ye’r weill rewairdit, Maister Rintoul!

(Exit Rintoul)

O ay, Ah wes speirin, Morag, hou ye managed ti git roond the puddok?

Morag: Mither, Ah hae sumthing ti tell ye. Ah didna git roond him.

Queen: Wha-a-at---!

Nanse: Whit dae ye mean ye didna git roond him? Hou did ye git the wattir than?

Morag: He gat roond me. He wes owre thrawn for me an Ah haed ti mairrie him.

(General consternation)

Queen: WHAT---! Ye haed ti mairrie him! In the name o aw that’s guid---! Naebodie mairries puddoks. Ah never heard----!

Morag: Whit’s mair, he’l mebbe be cummin here the-morn, an we’l be settin up houss thegither in the palace. Ah howp that’s awricht wi you, Mither? He said he wes gaun ti lowp aw the road here frae the Magic Wal.

Queen: He’s cummin here the-morn – a PUDDOK! Ah canna credit ma ain lugs. Ye dinna mean ti tell me he’s ettlin ti byde here --- amang us? A mukkil puddok lowpin aboot the place --- it disna beir thinkin aboot! Ye ir expekkin ME ti gie this craitur houss room?

Morag: (Shamefacedly) Ay, an he said Ah wes ti be shuir an tell ye he disna lyke tattie soup. But he said ye wad be gled ti ken he’s no fykie wi his meat.

Queen: (Grimly) He disna lyke tattie soup. Ye expek ME ti see til his meat anaw. AH’L GIE HIM TATTIE SOUP! HE’L GIT TATTIE SOUP OWRE THE HEID AN HE CUMS NEAR ME! AH’L CLASH HIM OWRE THE HEID WI THAIM, SAE AH WUL!

Morag: O Mither!

Nanse: (Screaming) Hae ye nae sense ava, ye stuipit tawpie? Hou coud ye gang an mairrie a puddok? Mercie on us! Whitever wul fowk think? Whitever wul they say? An whaever wul want ti mairrie me wi a mukkil green puddok for a guidbrither? Ye maun gang an tell the craitur ye hae chynged yeir mynd. Ye canna be richt mairrit. The’r nae priest at Ardnamurchan.

Queen: Nanse is shuirlie richt, Morag. We canna hae a puddok for a frein. Awbodie wad juist lauch at us. We hae a poseition ti uphaud an that wadna be possible wi a puddok blawin an booncin an cawin himsell oor frein aboot the Coort. You tell the beiss ye didna richt ken whit ye war daein.

Morag: But Ah did ken whit Ah wes daein.

Queen: (Softly) Juist think, bairn, ye hae yeir haill lyfe afore ye! Ye dinna want ti spend the lave o yeir days yokit ti a puddok., Tho Ah daursay monie is the wumman haes ti dae wi littil better. Eftir sevinteen year leevin wi yeir faither, naebodie kens that better nor me. You tell yeir puddok ye’r no richt mairrit at aw kis the war nae priest thare, an gut quut o him aince an for aw! Tell him strecht---! Tell him---!

Morag: Mither, we war richt mairrit. We haed a ceremonie.

Nanse: Ceremonie ma fuit---! It’s agin the law o Scotland ti mairrie a puddok. It’s cawed ‘bestialitie’. It wad be a rude thing ti dae. Ir YOU gaun ti tell him, or ir ye no?

Queen: The war nae wutnesses, war the? The mairriage wes never consummated, wes it.

Morag: We didna hae oniething ti eat, but he made me touch his bodie.

Queen: He garred ye touch his bodie! Michtie, whit dis that maitter? Ah’ve touched puiddoks monie a tyme. It didna mean Ah wes mairrit on thaim. CONSUMMATED – Ye ken whit Ah’m speakin aboot? (Morag nods) God serrs! Whit im Ah sayin? It coudna been---! Morag, ye’l rue aw the hairs o yeir heid gin ye byde mairrit til the puddok. But whitever ye dae, dinna lat him set fuit owre the houss door! Frae the soond o him, he’s a thrawart craitur, an aince he wan in here, he wad be gey ill ti shift. He soonds lyke a richt sorner ti me.

Morag: Ye can say whit ye lyke. Ah’m mairrit on the puddok. Ah maun haud ti ma promise. A promise maun aye be keepit. Fyne ye ken that. An ye ir weill again, Mither. Ye wul no dee nou, winna ye no, Mither?

Queen: Eh? No the-nou--- Ah dinna expek--- No for a whyle yit, oniewey---

Morag: Ti haud ti ma promise, is a smaw fee ti pey for that, shuirlie?

Queen: Bliss ye, Morag, the’r sumthing in whit ye say. Ah never thocht o’t that wey…….. but Ah dout ye’r owre guid for this warld. Ah’m shuir Ah dinna ken wha ye tak eftir.

Nanse: (Makes a face at Morag) Souk, souk---!

Morag: It’s droll the wey things turns oot. Ah never thocht whan Ah wes wee that Ah’d end up mairrit til a puddok. He’s no whit Ah haed in mynd for a guidman, but Ah daursay Ah’l growe ti lyke him better whan Ah ken him richt.

Nanse: Ah think Ah hear awbodie lauchin at us areddies. Ah’l never can haud up ma heid again if that bruit cums ti byde here. Mither, gin ye saw him — he’s yuchie!

Queen: Nanse, Ah think ye soud think shame ti gang on at Morag lyke this, whan she wes juist thinkin aboot hir puir seik mither. Morag brocht me the magic wattir. Whit did YOU dae for me? Naething---! Ti be plain, BUGGER AW!

Nanse: Mither, whyles ye fairlie lat yeirsell doun! Ye’r no back on the ferm nou! Mither, he wes yuchie! He haed a dichtie dowp.

Queen: He haed WHIT? Im Ah hearin richt?

Nanse: He haed a dichtie dowp---a clairtie bum. Whan Ah saw him, his hurdies wes aw slaigeert wi dryte.

Queen: MORAG, ye’r shuirlie never gaun ti tell me this puddok is no houss trained? Wha wad clean up eftir him?

Nanse: (Nastily) That wad be Morag’s job. Wha else but perfit Morag? She coud follae him about the Coort wi a clout.

Queen: If he’s no houss trained, he’l hae ti byde ootby in the yaird in a kennel. Ah’m no haein puddoks wi dichtie erses lowpin aboot fylin ma clean fluirs. Ah’l no pit up wi that in the Pailace an that’s final

Morag: (To Nanse) Whyles ye hae a richt ill tung in yeir heid, Nanse. (To Queen) Dinna listen til hir styte, Mither! The puddok’s hurdies is whyle glaurie wi lowpin aboot amang the peat hags at Ardnamurchan. It’s a gey glaurie place. But it’s clean dirt, Mither. Aw he wants is a guid skoosh doun at the pump.

Queen: Weill, that’s sumthing ti be thenkfu for, at least. Nanse, ye limmer,YOU’ve tryit ti mislead me. Ah hae a guid mynd ti warm yeir lugs for ye, an if ye war yungir, Ah wad dae it. Ah ken whit’s wrang wi YOU. Ye ir ill aboot the puddok shawin ye up in a bad licht, but whan aw said an duin, he is yeir guidbrither. Whit’s duin is duin. Ye’d better git uised wi the notion, an the suiner, the better.

Nanse: Ah dinna think Ah can staun this---!

(She tears at her hair, then storms out of the room)

Queen: Littil ane, never you heed hir! She thinks on naebodie but hirsell. Be patient! Things is no aye whit they seem. We haena seen the end o this affair yit---no bi a lang chalk!

Morag: (Sobbing) Ah juist canna git uised wi the idea, Mither --- be-in mairrit on a puddok.

Queen: (Putting her arm round Morag) Nounae, Nounae, we maun pit a stoot hert til a stey brae! (She pouts) Here, gie yeir Mammie a kiss! (Morag kisses her and the Queen takes her on her knee) A bosie---? (They embrace) Morag, we’l juist hae ti lairn ti regaird this puddok as a member o the Ryal Faimlie --- as ane o oorsells.

(Morag sobs agreement)

Morag: Mither, dinna say ye’l hae ti chein ma Guidman in a kennel! Please, Mammie---!

Queen: Na, Na, Ah dinna think it wul cum ti that. Juist try no ti think onie mair aboot it the-nicht! Ye’r fair worn oot, bairn, eftir aw yeir dour traivel. Ah tell ye whit, Ah’m feelin friskie an Ah’m gaun doun ti hae a bit daunce in the haw.

(She prances about)

Queen: Ah want ti hae a wurd wi the Thane o Fife. Ah’l no be back here the-nicht---no if Ah can help it.

Morag: But whaur wul ye be sleepin, Mither?

Queen: Never you mynd aboot that! Ah’l be fyne. Yeir ain bed is no made up yit, sae juist you sleep here the-nicht, an ye can gang back til yeir ain chaumer the-morn’s morn.

Morag: Awricht, Mither---!

Queen: Guidnicht than, Morag! Gang strecht til yeir bed an hae a guid sleep! Things wul mebbe seem better the-morn.

Morag: Ah think Ah’l hae a bit read first. It’s owre aerlie yit for gaun ti sleep. Guidnicht, Mammie! (The Queen kisses her)

Queen: Guidnicht! (Queen leaves)

(Morag undresses for bed. A clock in the courtyard strikes nine. She takes a nightgown out of a drawer and puts it on. She takes a book from the bookcase and climbs into bed. She tries to read, but after a short while she puts the book down and starts to sob, ‘Whit’l A dae’, Ai Mercie, whit’l A dae?’ She then lies down and sobs herself to sleep. In the distance there is the faint sound of the pipes. In her dream she sits up and sees the image of the puddok wearing a red velvet jacket, green stockings and a coronet, by the bedside, standing looking at her.

Puddok: That’s us yokit! Mairrit ye ir frae this verra meinit on a puddok, an a lang an blythsum lyfe ti the perr o us, ma bonnie lassie.

Morag: Whit’l Ah dae?

Puddok: Wul ye nurse me whan Ah’m auld an dottilt, an dicht the slaivers frae ma mou, athoot girnin an makkin onie complaint?

Morag: Na, Ah canna dae it!

Puddok: Wul ye no gang intil a huff whan Ah hae ti leather ye?

Morag: (Wringing her hands) Please----!

Puddok: An a lang an blythsum lyfe ti the perr o us, ma bonnie lassie--- or Daith gar us pairt.

(The dream puddok hops off the stage and the dream image of the Queen appears)

Queen: Ah canna credit ma ain lugs. Naebodie mairries puddoks.)

Morag: Whit’l Ah dae?

(The image of Nanse appears)

Nanse: It’s agin the law o Scotland for ti mairrie wi a puddok. It’s cawed ‘bestiality’ an it’s ever sae rude.

Morag: Please, God, whit’l Ah dae?

Nanse: His hurdies wes aw slaigert wi dryte. He haed a clairtie bum.

Queen: Ah dout yeir Guidman wul hae ti be cheined up in a kennel!

Nanse: Perfit Morag wul follae him aboot wi a clout. (Morag moans) She can dicht up eftir him.

(Morag groans)

Queen: Ye dinna want ti spend the lave o yeir days yokit til a puddok …..the lave o yeir days yokit til a puddok …..yokit til a puddok…..til a puddok…..a puddok!

(The dream images fade off the stage)

Morag: Ah Na! Whit’l Ah dae? Ai Mercie, whit’l Ah dae?

(Morag lies down again in her dream and the dream ends)




The Queen’s chaumer, the same evening. Princess Morag is asleep in bed, but she is disturbed by angry shouting in the courtyard below the window. She sits up.

A Voice: (Shouting offstage) Ah dinna ken wha ye ir, ye’r no cummin in here at this oor!

(Morag rises and goes to the window)

Morag: (Opening the window and crying down) Whit’s up doun thare, Tam?

(There is a cry of pain and more shouting from offstage, in which may be distinguished the word, ‘puddok’)


Morag: Wha’s that? Ah canna mak ye oot! Is that sumbodie sweirin doun thare? Haud on! Ah’l cum doun. (She moves from the window and puts on a robe. There is a knock at the door.) Cum in!

(Ringan enters carrying a stout stout stick)

Ringan: Ah heard ye war in this chaumer the-nicht, yeir Hieness. The’r a gret mukkil puddok at the ooter yett wantin ti cum in. It can speak anaw an it says it kens ye, yeir Hieness. It says ye ir expekkin it. Ah never heard the lyke!

Morag: O dear!

Ringan: Tam gied it a richt guid skelp asyde the heid for its impiddence. It didna lyke that, Ah can tell ye! Syne he gruppit it an whummilt it owre on its back, an he is haudin it the-nou. Wul Ah gang doun, yeir Hieness an tak ma stick til it? Ae clour wi this an it’l bather ye nae mair. Twa clours an it wad be DEID! (He strikes the stick on the floor enthusiastically) It’l no cum back here in a hurry, Ah can tell ye! It’l no shaw its ugsum face back here again!

Morag: O Mercie! Na, Ringan, leave him alane! Ah dinna want him mankit. Dis the Queen ken he is here, Ringan?

Ringan: No that Ah ken, yeir Hieness.

Morag: Dinna you tell hir, Ringan!

Ringan: No me, yeir Hieness---! Deil a fears!

Morag: Leave this ti me, Ringan! Ah think ye’d better tell Tam ti lowse the Puddok an shaw him the road up here.

Ringan: Dae ye want ti play wi the Puddok, yeir Hieness?

Morag: Ringan—juist you dae whit Ah tell ye!

Ringan: (Reluctantly) (Richt, yeir Hieness, gin that is yeir wull.

(Ringan leaves, pulling the door after him. After a few minutes, there is a quiet knocking at the door. Morag opens the door and in hops—the Puddok.)

Morag: O Mercie, it’s yeirsell! Ye h-h-haena been lang.

Puddok: Ay, Ay, Wyfe! Did Ah no say Ah’d no be that ferr ahint ye? Here Ah cum! Steir yeirsell, nou, an help me in, ma bonnie lassie!

Morag: O ay, O ay, atweill, G-G-Guidman! C-C-cum you inby! (Morag takes the Puddok’s hand and leads him into the room) Mercie, yeir haund’s fair lyke an icicle!

Puddok: Ah’m cauld aw owre. Ah’m fair nithert wi the cauld! It’s been snawin aw week an wi it be-in near Yuletyde, the Corran Ferry wesna rinnin. Ah think the ferryman maun hae been wyrin in til a richt guid Yuletyde denner. Ah haed naething ti eat at aw!

Morag: Hou did ye win across the wattir?

Puddok: Ah haed ti soum aw the wey across Loch Linnhe. Ah canna tell ye hou cauld the wattir wes. Ah haed ti brek the ice at Ardgour afore Ah coud git inti the loch an git richt stertit. Ah thocht Ah wes gaun ti freeze ti daith or Ah wan til the ither syde. (The Puddok’s body begins ti shiver and shake and his jaw appears to chatter)

Morag: Ye puir craitur----! Haud on! (She fetches a plaid from the chest) Here, hap this aboot yeir shouthers! (The Puddok clutches the plaid around his body)

Puddok: Ah’m mebbe cauld-bluidit, but Ah div feel the cauld mair nor ither puddoks. It’s a bit o a problem on a snell day, whan ye’r no weirin onie claes.

Morag: Ah ken, Ah ken, Ah wadna lyke ti dae it. Thare, thare---! (She pats him sympathetically)

Puddok: That’s a richt ill-trickit loun ye keep here. We’l hae ti git quut o him. For a whyle Ah thocht he wes gaun ti crack me owre the heid wi his mukkil stick. A gey puir walcum---! Whitnalyke wey for ti treat a Prince Consort! (He holds the side of his head ruefully) Ah can see the wul hae ti be a whein chynges here. The door gaird an that nestie, ill-trickit loun wul hae ti gang for a stert.

Morag: Guidman, ir ye wantin oniething ti eat? A bowle o het brose mebbe?

Puddok: Na, Na, Ah’m feelin kynd o seik lyke. Ah dout Ah’m past eatin, awthegither. Ma puir legs is awfu sair tae. Jings, Ah’m a bit stiff at the knees wi aw that lowpin. The war a whyle Ah thocht Ah wes gaun jingil-jyntit. Losh, Ah’ve been lowpin that lang Ah’m no shuir Ah ken hou ti stap masell! (He does some convulsive hopping) Crivvens, ma legs haes stertit ti kemp on thair ain accoont!

(The door bursts open and the Queen enters with Ringan, brandishing his stick)

Queen: Whit’s this Ah’m hearin frae Ringan that the Puddok is in this chaumer? (Seeing the Puddok) Sae YOU’R the Puddok! It’s littil wunner Nanse wadna mairrie ye. Mercie, whitna sicht---! It’s waur nor Ah expekkit!

Morag: Mither, please---!

Queen: (Peering at the Puddok) Whit’s that on its mou? It haesna been eatin oniething in here haes it? Ye ken Ah canna dae wi meat an crumbs in the bed chaumers. (The Puddok puts its fingers to his mouth)

Morag: Mither---!

Queen: It looks lyke it haes been eatin trekkil. (She looks directly at the Puddok) HAVE-YOU-BEEN-AT-MA-TREKKIL-DUMPLIN? (The Puddok wipes his mouth guiltily with the back of his hand) Ah thocht Ah’d putten that trekkil dumplin in a safe place!

Morag: Dinna be daft, Mither! He haesna been near yeir trekkil dumplin. He disna eat that kynd o meat.

(The Puddok gathers himself)

Puddok: Ah im yeir guidson, yeir Ryal Hieness. Yeir Ryal Hieness, Ah im byordnar gled for ti mak yeir acquantance.

(He bows deeply, but the Queen simply glares at him)

Queen: Huh---! That’s mair nor Ah can say ti you. Juist whit ir ye daein in this chaumer wi Morag?

Puddok: Ah hae everie richt ti be here. Ah’m hir Guidman.

(The Queen considers this, walks round behind the Puddok and looks down at him)

Queen: Ah see yeir hurdies is clean, oniewey … an ye can speak richt aneuch. Awricht, ye can byde here the-nicht, but nae mischief, mynd! Nae mischief---! Dinna you daur middil Morag! Dinna you daur! Juist you byde on the fluir whaur ye belang.!

(To Morag) Morag, ma lassie, Ah dout ye’l hae ti mak a kirk or a mill o this. Ah can mak naething o it. Ah’m gaun back ti the dauncin! An ye can tell yeir puddok, it wul be tattie soup for the denner the-morn, an that it wul be that, or naething!

(The Queen stalks out followed by Ringan)

Puddok: Yeir mither disna seem verra pleased ti see me, eftir aw Ah’ve duin for hir. Ingratitude is sherper not a serpent’s tuith, they say.

Morag: Ma mither haesna been verra weill, Puddok. She’s no hirsell the-nou. See Guidman, here a cushion at the door for ye! Ye can sit doun thare on yeir hunkers or the mornin. It is geyan late on an ye maun hae happit ferr the-day. Ye wul be gled ti git a saet eftir aw yeir traivel. Ah daursay ye wul be wantin yeir sleep nou. The morn’s mornin we wul hae a confab thegither. (The Princess leaves the Puddok next to the cushion, climbs back into bed and remains sitting up)

Puddok: Ah’m a bit puggilt, richt aneuch. It’s a gey lang road frae Ardnamurchan til Abernethy. Ah felt ma legs a thing wabbitie or Ah wan the lenth o Kinloch Rannoch --- aince or twyce Ah felt the pouer gang oot ma legs an A verra near conkit oot awthegither, but here Ah im, safe an soond.

(The Puddok sit down on the cushion reluctantly and stares at her for several seconds. His legs twitch occasionally)

Puddok: Guidwyfe, Ah’m no uised wi cushions.. The lyke o this is a het an mochie thing for a puddok ti sit on, an the’r a cauld wund fair blawin on ma legs frae anaith the door.

(Morag does not answer)

Wumman…………! Dae ye hear me whan Ah’m speakin? Hou monie tymes dae Ah hae ti speak?

Morag: Ay, Ah hear ye. Ah’m vext ye irna bien Ye see, Ah dinna ken mukkil aboot puddoks. The ither day wes the first tyme Ah ever spak ti ane.

Puddok: Weill, weill, ye needna fash. Ah’l mak allouance for ye. It’s never owre late ti lairn, ma lassie, never owre late---

Morag: Na, A’m shuir it’s no. Ah’l try again.

(Morag climbs out of bed, takes the cushion from the puddok and puts the large flower pot over him)

See nou, thare ye wul be cool, but beildit frae the wund. Gang aff ti sleep nou, an the-morn we’l speak thegither, you an me!

(She climbs back into bed)

Puddok: (From inside the flower pot) Wyfe, Ah’m no uised wi flouer pats aither. The’r nae air in thaim for me ti breathe an Ah’m hauden in an canna lowp aboot. Puddoks haes ti breathe throu thair skins. Dae ye no ken that? Oniewey, ma legs is aye cauld. Dae ye hear me? Dae ye hear me, Wumman?

Morag: Ay, Puddok – Ah mean, Guidman – Ah hear ye.

Puddok: Weill, whit ir ye gaun ti dae aboot it? Ah howp Ah’m no gaun ti hae ti raise ma vyce ti ye again!

Morag: (To herself) Mercie, whit wul Ah dae nou? Ah ken, Ah wul ryse an tak aff the flouer pat. (

Morag gets out of bed and lifts off the flower pot)

Thare nou---! Is that no better?

Puddok: That’s a wee thing better, ma luiv. (He breathes deeply several times) At least Ah can draw braith. (Looking around him) Ai, but whitna graund place is this! Whit a brawlyke place, sae it is! It wad tak me a guid whyle ti hap roond it aw, but nou Ah im wabbitie, an waesum an waebegaen, for hae Ah no trraivelt ferr an fest ti be wi ye?

Morag: Sae ye hae! Ti tell ye the truith, Guidman, Ah haed haurlie expekkit ye this suin. If Ah’d haed mair tyme ti prepare a richt walcum for ye---?

Puddok: Na, Na, Wyfe, dinna bather yeir bonnie heid aboot that! Ah’l mak allouances for ye yeir first nicht.

(Morag is about to reply, but thinks better of it)

Puddok: Is this no juist graund? Here we ir thegither, juist oor twa sells. Juist gie me a wee whylie ti gether masell, lyke! Gin ye wad juist be patient, Ah’l be in better fettil for ye in a meinit.

Morag: (Apprehensively) In better fettil for whit?

Puddok: Weill, the’r a ful muin the-nicht an it’s kynd o romantic lyke. Seein that we’r mairrit, Ah thocht that you an me---? Ye ken whit Ah mean---!

Morag: Ah’m shuir Ah dinna ken whit ye ir on aboot. Ye maun be unco wearie eftir aw the lowpin ye hae duin…… Ah ken, Ah’l mak ye a smaw bed aw ti yeirsell, on the fluir asyde ma mukkil ane, an ye can sleep thare or the morn’s morn, an the-morn we’l hae a lang crak thegither.

Puddok: Ah’m gey forfochen, richt aneuch. Awricht, Ah’l gie’t a try.

(Morag makes a makeshift bed with the cushion and one plaid taken from the chest. The puddok lies down under the plaid and she tucks him in gingerly, returns to bed and lies down to sleep. There is silence for several seconds, and then the puddok slowly sits up and starts to sing softly.)

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment;
chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.
J’ai tout quitté pour l’ingrate Sylvie;
elle me quitte et prend un autre amant.

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment;
chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

(Morag pretends to be asleep)

Puddok: Wyfe, ir ye wauken?

Morag: Ay, Ah think sae.

Puddok: Ah’m awfu cauld. Can Ah cum in asyde ye?

(Morag bounds out of bed and puts the second plaid over the puddok)

Morag: Thare nou---! That soud be graund an cosie.

(Morag returns to bed and lies down again to sleep. There is silence for several seconds)

Puddok: Wyfe!

Morag: (Wearily) Whit is it nou?

Puddok: (Sitting up) Ah canna git lyin richt in this bed at aw. A’M OWRE HET!

Morag: (Sitting up) For the luiv o Guidness---!

(She bounds out of bed, presses the Puddok firmly back into a reclining position and turns down half the second plaid)

Morag: Try an settil doun, Guidman!

(Morag returns to bed and lies down. Silence again for several seconds.)

Puddok: Ah’m awfu dry. Ah canna swallae richt. Ye haena a drap wattir juist ti wat ma thrappil? Ah coud dae wi sum leafs ti chowe anaw.

(Silence for a few seconds)


(Morag bounds out of bed and stands over the Puddok)

Puddok: Whitna awfu drouth---

Morag: (Angrily) GUIDMAN, it seems the’r nae richt pleasin ye. Im Ah never ti git sleepit at aw, the-nicht? The’r nae wattir in here, an nae leafs aither, an gin ye ir wantin onie, ye haed better gang ootby ti the pant-wal in the coortyaird. The’r a pikkil wattir in the stank anaw. Ye’l finnd sum docken leafs doun thare, tae, growein roond the cundie, gin that is whit ye ir eftir.

Puddok: (Standing from his bed) Wyfe---! Ma broun lassie! Ye needna be roosed. Ah wul fash ye nae mair. Ah can see fyne that Ah canna byde wi you, nor you wi me. Ye ir the kyndest-hertit lassie in the haill warld an ye hae keepit the paction ye made wi me. The’r no monie lassies wad hae duin that. Ye hae tryit yeir best ti gie me awthing Ah askit frae ye. But the’r nae leevin thegither the wey we ir nou.

Morag: Ir ye gaun ti leeve me---on ma waddin nicht?

Puddok: Ah daursay ye wadna brek yeir hert an Ah did, but Ah’m no gaun ti leave ye. Ye wul be thinkin Ah’m a richt auld greitin-face, but Ah’m no sic a skunner as ye micht think. Ah wes juist testin ye oot, an ye hae passed the test.

Morag: Whit dae ye mean,Guidman?

Puddok: Ah’m no gaun ti leave ye, but we canna gang on lyke this onie langir.

Morag: Ah still dinna ken whit ye mean.

Puddok: Juist lippen ti whit Ah’m aboot ti say ti ye. Ahint yeir mukkil bed, thare hings a sword. Dae ye see it thare?

Morag: Ay, yon belanged ma faither. He uised it whyles for fechtin the Inglish. Ma faither wes richt knackie wi that sword. He aince killed thrie Inglishmen i the ae day wi that sword, or sae he said.

Puddok: Is it aye sherp?

Morag: Is it no? Ma faither aye lykit ti keep it sherp for fear he micht need it for chappin aff sumbodie’s heid. It’s lyke a razor.

Puddok: That’l be the verra thing for whit Ah hae in mynd.

Morag: It wes ti hae been gien til ma man, but hou Ah can gie a sword til a puddok Ah kenna.

Puddok: Ai, but Ah ken, Wyfe. Ye can gie me the edge o it.

Morag: The edge o it---? Guidman, Ah canna mak ye oot, atweill Ah canna.

Puddok: Syne Ah’l tell ye, ma lassie. Gie me the sherp edge o it on ma craig, here, (He points to the back of his neck) for Ah im the waesumest puddok in aw the warld. Snek you aff ma heid wi yeir faither’s sword an lowse me frae ma dule!

Morag: (Pasionately) Ah coud never dae sic a thing. Ah made a siccar bergain ti mairrie ye an Ah hae been yeir guidwyfe ever sensyne. It wadna be richt or naitral for me ti caw aff yeir heid.

Puddok: Ay, ye ir ma guidwyfe, an a wyfe maun dae as hir man tells hir. Ye shuirlie ken that? Onie wumman kens that. Ye hecht as mukkil whan ye war mairrit.

Morag: Ah ken Ah did, but a wyfe maunna kill hir guidman, shuirlie? Ah’m no uised wi daein sic things. Ah canna byde the sicht o bluid. Ah juist canna bring masell ti dae it. Dinna ask me til!

Puddok: A wyfe soudna hae a clekkin tung aither. Juist you dae as Ah bid ye, Wyfe! Shuirlie ye haena forgotten yeir mairriage vous areddies? Dae as ye’r telt an dinna think owre mukkil aboot it!

(Morag hangs her head dejectedly)

Whan aw is said an duin, whit’s ae puddok, mair or less in aw the warld? Forby, ye’l be daein me a guid turn, for Ah im wearie wi ma lyfe as a puddok. That wearie---! Ae guid dird an the thing is duin.

(He sighs deeply) Naebodie kens hou wearie Ah im. Hert wearie--!

(He removes the sword from the wall, feels the edge of it with his thumb and hands it to Morag)

Morag: Ah dinna ken aboot this at aw. Wul it no be sair?

Puddok: Never bather yeir bonnie heid aboot it be-in sair? Ah’l no hae mukkil tyme ti think aboot it be-in sair eftir ma heid’s aff. Dinna pit aff onie langir, nou! Juist dae it!

Morag: Awricht than, gin that’s yeir lest word. But mynd, it wul be past joukin whan yeir heid’s aff. It wul be owre late than, for ti chynge yeir mynd.

Puddok: Ah ken, Ah ken. Juist haud yeir tung an git on wi it!

(Morag raises the sword sadly and the Puddok bows his head at the back of the stage. However, he falls into a fit of trembling.)

Morag: Byde still the-nou, Guidman! Ah canna mak a richt job o dingin aff yeir heid gin ye shougil it aboot.

(He steadies himself)

That’s better! Ah’l coont ti thrie.

Puddok: Fareweill Princess! Chap awa!

Morag: This is juist ti please ye, mynd! Yin, twa……THRIE!

(Morag brings the sword down quickly, evidently to cut off the Puddok’s head. After a puff of smoke, the Prince appears illuminated, in place of the Puddok, to a background of tinkling bells. The Prince and Morag stand gazing at each other for several seconds.)

Morag: (Astonished) Mercie, wha ir ye?

Prince: Weill Wyfe? Weill ma bonnie lassie? Ye never jaloused Ah wes a Prince aw the tyme, did ye nou?

Morag: Whaur ma puddok? Ah never ettilt ti kill him. Ah never ettilt ti dae him onie skaith ava.

Prince: Naither ye did! Ye didna kill him, Morag. Ah im yeir puddok, or raither, Ah wes yeir puddok.

Morag: Hou coud ye be? Ah dinna unnerstaun ye. Ah’m aw raivelt.

Prince: Morag, ye hae lowsed me frae an ill spell that wes putten on me bi a wutch langsyne. Ah hae been hauden in the puddok’s bodie thir monie year, an nou Ah im free at lest.

(He rubs his chest with satisfaction)

Prince: Fegs, it’s guid ti be masell again!

Morag: But hou im Ah ti be shuir it’s you? Ye’r no a bit lyke yeirsell.

Prince: (Pointing to his chest) This is me --- masell. Ah wesna lyke masell afore. This is the wey Ah wes aye meant ti be. Ah’l gie ye pruif. Didna the Queen, yeir mither, no say, ‘Be patient, we haena seen the end o this, yit!’

Morag: (Full of wonder) Ah mynd hir sayin sumthing o the kynd, but ma guidman – Ah mean the Puddok – wesna thare at the tyme.

Prince: That’s juist pairt o the glaumerie. Did yeir sister no tell ye Ah hae the saicont sicht. Dae ye mynd the day ye war mairrit?

Morag: Ah’m haurlie lyke ti forget it.

Prince: Ye mynd whan we cleikit thoums? (He looks closely at her) Dae ye mynd?

Morag: (Astonished) It wes you Ah cleikit thoums wi! Ye maun be him richt aneuch. Yeir vyce haes chynged a bit, but Ah ken yeir mainner. It is you!

Prince: Ma vyce haes chynged kis Ah haena got a puddok’s thrappil nou.

Morag: But hou coud sic a thing as this be? Ah’m fair bumbaized!

Prince: Ill magic pat me in the maik o a puddok. Div ye no ken the’r ill magic forby guid.

Morag: But hou did ye git back inti yeir richt shape?

Prince: Ah coud never be lowsed frae the spell till the day soud cum whan a lassie wad mairrie me o hir ain free wull, an snek aff ma heid whan Ah askit hir til. Afore ye cam alang Ah wes at ma wuts’ end. Ah thocht Ah wes gaun ti byde a puddok for the lave o ma days.

Morag: Ye puir man---!

(The Prince and Morag move together to embrace)

Ma puddok! Aw this tyme this is whit ye war richt lyke. Ma ain puddok---!

Prince: Here, cannie on! Less o the puddok---! Ma name is Andrae. Ah wad raither ye thocht o me as a man nou.

Morag: Wow! This wul tak sum gittin uised wi. ‘Andrae’, Ah lyke the soond o that name. Andrae……! That wes ma faither’s name.

Prince: Ye can never tell whit fowk is lyke bi first appearances.

Morag: Ye hae a guid hert an that’s whit maitters maist. Andrae, ma jo---! (They kiss) Andrae, wul ye promise me ae thing?

Prince: An whit wad that be, Morag?

Morag: Promise me ye wul never gang back ti be-in a puddok again!

Prince: Deil a fears! This wul dae for me. (He kisses her again) This is the wey it wes weirdit sen afore the warld began.


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Information about Document 924

The Puddock and the Princess


Text audience

Children (under 13s)
Teenagers (13-17)
General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1985
Word count 19521
General description Play based on Scots version of the Frog Prince theme

Text medium


Text performance/broadcast details

Where performed/broadcast Edinburgh International Festival 1985, 1988
Performed/broadcast by Theatre Alba

Text publication details

Publisher Brown, Son & Ferguson
Publication year 1992
Place of publication Glasgow

Text setting


Text type

Script (film, play, radio, tv etc.)


Author details

Author id 17
Forenames David
Surname Purves
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired Biochemist
Place of birth Selkirk
Region of birth Selkirk
Birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Master Grocer
Father's place of birth Selkirk
Father's region of birth Selkirk
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Selkirk
Mother's region of birth Selkirk
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes